Microwave technology currently has relatively limited uses in medical applications such as MRI and Telemetry systems with RFID starting to find some uses, but I can think of many others. However, there seems to be a resurgence in some new medical research activities that could change that. Our Dec. issue feature story will describe research being done by Duke University to use microwaves to mildly heat tumors so they respond better to other treatments. New modeling software has enabled better results to eliminate hot spots so that this technique shows promise now.
And now UMass has just released news that they are working on a portable breast cancer screening system that uses low power microwaves for imaging. The idea is to bring modern breast cancer screening to Third World countries without the danger, high cost and access problems of X-ray based machines. This new technique would take advantage of the fact that normal breast tissue and cancer cells have different electrical properties. These differences can be identified and measured using an array of tiny transmitters and external sensors embedded in the walls of a cylinder that fits comfortably around the breast.
It should be interesting to follow these technologies as the develop. Let us know if you can come up with other contributions of microwave technology to the medical field.