Scientists Improve Radio Lens for Cancer Treatment

Scientists develop radio lens to enhance cancer treatment without damaging healthy tissues

Scientific PaperDual Graded Index Dielectric Lens System for Hyperthermia

Authors: Fernando Albarracin-Vargas; Felix Vega; Chaouki Kasmi; Fahad AlYafei; Christoph Baer


Researchers at Technology Innovation Institute's (TII) Directed Energy Research Center (DERC) have developed a new lens that allows microwave cancer therapy devices to be placed in proximity to the human body. Through focusing the beam more efficiently, this innovation is set to reduce the damage to healthy tissue on the body's surface or in areas adjacent to the tumour.

Based on the principles of physics, traditional microwave applicators need to be positioned at some distance from the area targeted on the body. Fernando Albarracin-Vargas, Lead RF & Electronics Researcher at DERC, said: "So far, hyperthermia applicators have always been placed at some distance from the human body."

Cancer is a debilitating illness in which a person's malignant cells grow out of control, crowding out the healthy cells. Hyperthermia is a promising treatment that involves heating cancerous cells using microwave beams. However, the challenge has been with regard to the positioning of the device at a short distance while ensuring the beam is focused on the right spot on the body. This also means that some of the non-ionising radiation gets reflected off the body.

Cancer is a debilitating illness in which a person's malignant cells grow out of control, crowding out the healthy cells. Hyperthermia is a promising treatment that involves heating cancerous cells using microwave beams. However, the challenge has been with regard to the positioning of the device at a short distance while ensuring the beam is focused on the right spot on the body. This also means that some of the non-ionising radiation gets reflected off the body.

Eventually, this research holds the potential to build cancer treatment devices that operate at higher frequencies and may work more efficiently than existing ones. Higher frequencies also mean the beam can be focused more precisely, thereby reducing the damage to healthy tissue.