University of Missouri researchers detect cancer through laser-induced ultrasound

To determine if there is cancer in one’s lymph nodes, a typically advanced stage requiring more aggressive treatment, pathologists are stuck performing several specific, detailed tests that may or may not target the cancerous cells. Using the needle-in-a-haystack analogy would be apt.

But thanks to the work of researchers at the University of Missouri in Columbia, a technique using photoacoustics could scan a lymph node biopsy with laser pulses, whereby the pigment of melanin reacts to the laser’s beam, absorbing the light, and heating and cooling (read: expanding and contracting) rapidly. This produces a popping sound that’s detectable by special sensors.

[CNET News]