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Photoacoustics

While breast cancer screening tests are accepted as safe – and we definitely wouldn’t want to scare anyone off from a potentially life-saving test – they do have some risks associated with them. The most obvious being the exposure to low doses of ionizing radiation, which in itself is a risk factor for breast cancer. X-ray mammography can also give false positive and negative results. In the quest for a safer, more accurate alternative, Dutch researchers have provided proof of concept that photoacoustic imaging can be used to detect and visualize breast tumors. Read More
Scientists at Stanford University’s School of Medicine have created nanoparticles that are able to precisely highlight brain tumors. Because the nanoparticles can be imaged in three different ways, they can be used to delineate the boundaries of tumors before and during brain surgery to ease the complete removal of tumors. The scientists have already used the nanoparticles to remove brain tumors from mice with unprecedented accuracy and hope the technique could be used on humans in the future. Read More
DaVinci, Caravaggio, VanGogh and Monet are just a few of the artists whose works attract thousands of visitors every year. However these paintings often suffer from damage due to aging and exposure to the elements. What once was a masterpiece on a church ceiling or wall often requires a highly skilled restoration team to return it to its original form – a process which is being aided by researchers at McGill University in Quebec, who have used a technique called "photoacoustic infrared spectroscopy" to identify the composition of pigments used in art works. Read More
Even though melanoma is one of the less common types of skin cancer, it accounts for the majority of skin cancer deaths – around 75 percent. The five-year survival rate for early stage melanoma is very high (98 percent), but the rate drops precipitously if the cancer is detected late or there is recurrence. So a great deal rides on the accuracy of the initial surgery, where the goal is to remove as little tissue as possible while obtaining “clean margins” all around the tumor. So far no imaging technique has been up to the task of defining the melanoma's boundaries accurately enough to guide surgery – until now. Read More