Dr. Val Jones, one of our favorite medblogers, has a nifty new blog, opining on the the latest news and thoughts in medicine. Particularly interesting to our audience should be her profile of MR Guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) technology that allows for quick location and targeting of tumors.
From Getting Better with Dr. Val:
Scientists have been fantasizing about heating tissues with sound waves since 1942 when the first ultrasound experiment was conducted on a liver tumor. Unfortunately back then, imaging studies (beyond X-rays) had not yet been developed – so it was virtually impossible to “see” one’s target.
However, now that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines are capable of displaying our innards in exquisite detail (and can also calculate the temperature of tissues to within 1 degree Celsius) we can see exactly what we’re heating and we know when we’ve achieved the desired temperature. In addition, advances in probe technology have made it possible to target exact tumor boundaries, thus curing rather than “debulking” various cancers.