Ultrasonic Surgery and other Emerging Medical Technologies
1) "The Medical Tricorder Takes Two Steps Away from Sci-Fi," a story for Wired.com on July 2, 2007
2) "Medical Records Made Easy," a story for Wired.com on Sept. 25, 2001.
3) "Cancer: Killing it Softly" – a story for Wired.com on Dec. 5, 2001
Ultrasound is a familiar term for mothers-to-be, whose doctors use the technology to view a fetus in the womb. But ultrasound as a surgical tool -- where focused beams of high-intensity sound waves are used to kill tumors and cauterize sites of internal bleeding -- is a new and promising application in the burgeoning field of "acoustic medicine."
This week, at the annual meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, several teams of scientists are presenting their research on using high-intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU, to combat prostate cancer, liver cancer and internal bleeding -- without anesthesia, chemotherapy, radiation or incisions.
Companies and researchers are still testing HIFU therapy, hoping for FDA approval in the United States, but this past summer Japan and Europe OK'd its use as a method of reducing swollen prostate glands in older men. On the other hand, China -- whose medical approval process is less stringent than the FDA's -- has been using HIFU therapy in cancer patients since 1997.
(cc) photo by John Chew