Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Space science joins battle against cancer

19.11.2003


Darwin’s six telescopes, a central view-combining spacecraft, and communication satellite (shown bottom left).
Credits: ESA 2002. Illustration by Medialab.


Ground-breaking techniques which will be used to find tiny planets orbiting stars outside our Solar System are already being developed to help scientists detect cells in the early stages of cancer.

The enormous amount of light emitted by a star makes it extremely difficult to spot a planet in orbit around it. By using a technique that combines signals from two or more telescopes, ESA astronomers are able to create an artificial solar eclipse, ‘neutralising’ the effects of the bright starlight so that the fainter light from a planet can be detected.

European space scientists have now developed the technique even further so that they can even study the atmospheres of such planets.


ESA’s Darwin mission, which will study up to 1000 nearby stars, will be one of the first to use this technique to take us a step further towards answering the question ’Are we alone in the Universe?’

But scientists in the Netherlands are excited about another application for this revolutionary technique. The national research organisation TNO/TPD has developed this imaging technology for medical use.

Using this technique, scientists can now obtain images of skin or tissue that are of much higher resolution than currently available. The technique is already being used to study changes in blood vessels and the retina, but it could be used as an early detection method for cancerous growths.

This will not be the first time that space technology has been used in the fight against cancer. A computer program originally developed by European scientists to find the sources of X-rays in deep space has been modified to produce a computer-aided early recognition system for skin melanomas.

The original software was used to block out background ‘noise’ in signals coming from space in order to detect weaker signals emitted from the remnants of supernova explosions.

Here on Earth, a sample of the surface of skin can be scanned and then magnified 10 times. The computer program then picks out the tiniest variations in colour, allowing doctors to see much more clearly whether there are any irregularities in cell growth, associated with malignant melanomas.

Guido De Marchi | ESA
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/export/esaSC/SEMN27XLDMD_index_0.html

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>