Treating cancer is difficult. It involves toxic chemical, high doses of radiation and often surgery. All of this takes a toll on the patient. What if cancer treatment could be less invasive and less damaging? A team from MIT is trying to do just that with sound waves.
Sound waves can pass through the body without damaging healthy cells. The team at MIT, working with other researchers from Carnegie Mellon and Penn State has developed a transducer that emits a combination of sound waves. Some at a high pressure, some at a low pressure. When healthy blood cells carry cancer cells along with them, the cancer can travel throughout the body. The sound waves being investigated at MIT appear to separate the cancer cells from typical red blood cells because the sound waves act differently on the two kinds of cells. This is due to their shape. Sound causes the cells to vibrate and the oddly shaped cancer cells wind up being essentially shaken out and away from healthy cells. This video shows how the project is going and what the researchers hope to do with this