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The sound of melanoma can help doctors find cancer
Date:2/23/2010

t would be able to narrow down the search, saving time and money."

In the photoacoustic method, a tabletop device scans a lymph node biopsy with laser pulses. About 95 percent of melanoma cells contain melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color, so they react to the laser's beam, absorbing the light. The laser causes the cells to heat and cool rapidly, which makes them expand and contract. This produces a popping noise that special sensors can detect. This method would examine the entire biopsy and identify the general area of the node that has cancer, giving pathologists a better idea of where to look for the cancer.

"This method is quicker and simpler and could be used to improve the efficiency of how doctors determine if the cancer has spread from the original skin lesion into the lymphatic system," Viator said. "This technology could be an important tool in our fight against cancer."

In the study, Viator took human cancer cells and placed them inside canine lymph nodes. Then, using the laser, he determined the best ways to locate the cancer cells. The next step is to try the procedure using human lymph nodes.


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Contact: Kelsey Jackson
JacksonKN@missouri.edu
573-882-8353
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert  

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