Jul 31, 2009
A biotech company named InSightec is developing a surgical technique that uses focused ultrasound waves instead of scalpels to destroy tumors:
Machinery like this had previously been used to treat some cancers, for example in the uterus and breast. But until now, the distorting effects brought about by the skull’s thickness has made it impossibly tricky to focus the beams onto the brain while also maintaining the required accuracy.
InSightec’s technology solves that by using over a thousand individually focused transducers, which broadcast the ultrasonic beams. But it’s not like shooting a laser into a person’s head–rather, the beams raise the temperature of the location being treated by about forty degrees, or just enough to kill the diseased cells. A built-in cooling system keeps the brain from
cooking like an eggoverheating.