Magnetism is a basic, but powerful force of the universe, with a number of applications within our every day lives (toys, compasses, the magnetic strip on your credit card). A new breakthrough in cancer research may have provided us with yet another use for it.
A study conducted at the University of California has determined that magnets can be used to monitor the spread of cancer throughout a patient’s body. How? By injecting small, magnetic beads around potentially cancerous tumors to ID any sentinel nodes, the parts of our lymphatic system that the cancer has first infected if it’s spread beyond the tumor. With the help of the beads and a magnetic wand, doctors can find the tumor, tag the sentinel nodes, and then remove them during a biopsy to check whether the cancer has started to affect other parts of the body.
Normally, this procedure is carried out using radiation, but the prohibitive costs and risks make it less safe and desirable than this new method.
“This is a very promising technology that could have several advantages for the patient, the surgeon, [and] the staff,” Jayant Vaidya, a professor of surgery and oncology at University College London, told The Daily Mail.
As of 2016, cancer is the second leading cause of mortality in men. Though these trials were conducted in women with chest cancer, the technique could become viable for other forms of the disease.
Source: Men’s Health
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