A new imaging technique called photo-acoustic tomography combines the properties of light and sound to give doctors a powerful tool to detect cancer earlier than ever before. Its developers say the technique can also be performed without the dangers of radiation exposure associated with current imaging methods like X-ray and CT scans.
Using laser light and sound, the method produces a 3-D image of cells at the molecular level. Not only does the precise picture give information about potential cancer threats before tumors are even formed, it also avoids the problem of false positives that are so common in X-ray mammography.
Although currently undergoing its first round of human clinical trials, the technology promises to be a significant advancement over current techniques should it ever make it to the open biomedical market.