Burning tumors away
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Some 80,000 Americans will be diagnosed with a brain tumor this year according to the American Brain Tumor Association. Many of them will need major surgery and chemotherapy. Sixteen thousand of them will lose the battle. But a team of USC Viterbi School of Engineering researchers are now making it easier, faster and safer for doctors to use an emerging procedure – one that involves burning away tumors in more patients, including those with brain tumors.

Radiofrequency ablation, or RFA, is a minimally invasive procedure that uses electrical energy to destroy cancer cells with heat. A needle-thin probe delivers radio frequency waves directly to the tumor, cooking the tissue up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, (60 degrees Celsius), until it’s destroyed.

No real-time monitoring

“Although ablation is becoming increasingly popular, there is still no thermal imaging technology in regular clinical use to monitor these procedures in real time and ensure that the correct thermal dose is delivered the first time,” said research assistant professor John Stang of the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering, who co-authored the study published in IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering.

Together with Mahta Moghaddam, director of the Microwave Systems, Sensors, and Imaging Lab, or MiXIL,

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