Tumor thermal ablation therapy using alkali metals as powerful self-heating seeds.

Research paper by Wei W Rao, Jing J Liu

Indexed on: 14 Feb '08Published on: 14 Feb '08Published in: Minimally invasive therapy & allied technologies : MITAT : official journal of the Society for Minimally Invasive Therapy


The aim of this study is to demonstrate a new tumor thermal ablation therapy, which might lead to a highly economic, safe and efficient heating of target tissues. The alkali metals, usually seen as hazard mediums in daily life, were proposed for the first time as perfect self-heating seeds which can significantly raise the temperature of the tumor tissues. Owing to the tremendous heat released at only the target site during reaction between the metal and the intrinsically existing wet environment of the biological body, the tumor tissues can be efficiently ablated without causing thermal damage to the surrounding healthy tissues. Several conceptual experiments were performed to demonstrate the new thermal ablation principle. Mammary adenocarcinoma cells in culture were found to be quickly destroyed due to the thermal and chemical effects induced by the alkali metal. Further, a significant temperature increase by a magnitude of > 40 degrees C or even combustion has been found easily available at the target site; this temperature increase produces a sufficiently large coagulation and necrosis area within selected areas either for in vitro or in vivo tests. The unique merit of the present thermal ablation therapy is that its remaining reactant can be absorbed by the tissue itself without causing any damage. This study opens possibilities of using the alkali metals to thermally ablate the target tumor in future clinical applications.