PhotoAcoustic imaging is an imaging modality that uses laser light and ultrasound detectors to image tissues. Photo = Light. Acoustic = Sound. The imaging uses the photoacoustic effect principle. The photoacoustic effect is not new in terms of discovery as it was reported by none other than Alexander Graham Bell (yes! Rings a bell doesn’t it?) as early as 1880. But, the unavailability of proper detectors and instruments at his time was an obstacle to expanding research in this field.
Watson is an IBM supercomputer named after Thomas J. Watson who led IBM into the computer era. It represents a fundamental shift in the paradigm of computing – moving from programmable systems which have been the mainstay for the last several decades to learning systems that keep getting smarter as they process more knowledge. IBM has a business unit dedicated to transforming healthcare into a quantifiable service where every bit of information is available. It is called Watson Health and offers services in Genomics, Drug Discovery, Oncology, Imaging etc. By using it, physicians only have to go through their personalized reports instead of reading through dozens of papers for every patient’s case.
Radiotracers are chemical compounds that are used to diagnose or deliver therapy to specific organs and tissues. The radiotracer consists of a linking molecule, a binding molecule and a radioactive compound. Radiotracer is injected into the body and it binds to specific target cells in the body. The linking molecule binds the radioactive compound to the binding molecule, which then binds to specific cells in body.
The radiotracer decays by emitting ionizing radiation that damages nuclear DNA, thereby stopping division of cells (cancer as well as normal cells). Radiotracers are not something new. In fact, they have been around for 100 years !!
What is Proton therapy and why should you care?
Conventional Radiation therapy techniques use X-rays (‘photons’) to treat cancer by focussing X-rays on cancer regions. Proton therapy is a technique to treat cancer by the use of ‘protons’. The usage of protons to treat cancer may be advantages in various ways.
Radiation therapy for cancer treatment causes unnecessary exposure to healthy cells also, posing health risks on the patient. We can use Proton therapy for the following reasons.
- We may want to expose children and pregnant women to lower amount of radiation.