Pulsed ultrasound shows promise as cancer therapy

By AuntMinnie.com staff writers

January 8, 2020 -- A new form of low-intensity pulsed ultrasound therapy shows promise for destroying cancerous tumors without harming nearby healthy cells, according to research published online January 7 in Applied Physics Letters.

The therapy works by tuning the ultrasound frequency to match that of specific cancer cells -- similar to how an opera singer can shatter a wine glass by loudly singing a precise note. As a result, the researchers can use lower-intensity ultrasound beams.

In the study, researchers from the California Institute of Technology and City of Hope Beckman Research Institute used the technique to disrupt breast, colon, and leukemia cancer cell models in suspension without harming healthy immune or red blood cells.

"This project shows that ultrasound can be used to target cancer cells based on their mechanical properties," stated David Mittelstein, an MD/PhD candidate at CalTech and lead author on the paper, in a press release. "This is an exciting proof of concept for a new kind of cancer therapy that doesn't require the cancer to have unique molecular markers or to be located separately from healthy cells to be targeted."


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