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E. A New Device Based On Old Technology

Narrator: This is Science Today. An electronic instrument that will help doctors treat a range of disfiguring skin diseases and certain tumors has been developed by a private company. Yet, the device was based on technology developed decades ago at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Engineer James Doss says it utilizes the technique of heating tumor tissue with radio frequency.

Doss: In the case of tumors, it's a very fortunate thing, that the malignant cells are ususally more sensitive to a slightly elevated temperature than the normal cells around them and of course, in cancer therapy, you're always looking for something that the malignant cells are more sensitive to something you can kill them with and not kill the normal cells.

Narrator: This portable electronic device may have a great impact on people in Third World countries, who can not afford injectable drugs.

Doss: You have something that somebody who can drive a Jeep out into the jungle, all they really have to do is plug this thing into their cigarette lighter and treat the patient. It's very easy to use. You know, you don't have to keep buying anything. You use the same instrument over and over and over.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.