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E. Treating A Devastating Skin Disease Successfully

Narrator: This is Science Today. Technology discovered at Los Alamos National Laboratory more than twenty years ago, has come to fruition commercially in the form of an electronic hand-held device. Lab engineer James Doss says the instrument can treat many disfiguring skin diseases including a rare, tropical disease called leishmaniasis, which afflicts 12 million people.

Doss: It's one of these terrible, disfiguring, awful diseases. There wasn't a good method of treating it until the private firm decided using the Los Alamos technology.

Narrator: The technology involves radio frequency, which Doss says can quickly and painlessly heat tissue, destroying diseased cells.

Doss: You place two electrodes with alternating voltage - only electrodes on the tissue and this goes as an alternating current to flow through the tissue. And that current heats the tissue. The electrodes don't heat the tissue. The tissue gradually gets hot because of the current flowing through it and as the tissue gets hot, it will eventually heat the electrodes up so it's really the reverse.

Narrator: Thermosurgery Technologies Incorporated is marketing the device. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.