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Cryo Roundup

May 3, 2013

Researchers are using extremely cold temperatures to treat pain and cancer.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Fighting pain with cold. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Neuralgia is a painful condition caused by nerves damaged by diabetes or trauma. At a recent meeting of the Society for Interventional Radiology, scientists from Stony Brook University described a new treatment called cryoneurolysis that uses freezing temperatures to relieve the pain. Doctors guide a needle-like probe to the problem nerves; the probe cools to minus 10 or more below zero Celsius, freezing the nerves’ outer layers and reducing their ability to transmit pain signals.

In other cryo related news, researchers at the Mayo Clinic are using probes cooled to minus 100 degrees Celsius to kill lung cancer tumors. The technique is called cryoablation and while it doesn’t stop the spread of metastatic lung cancer completely, the doctors report slowing it down significantly. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.