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By AKRAB Kelab Komunikasi Radio Amatur Bachok Kelantan

Ham radio waves kill cancer cells
By Dan Gold For the Tribune

It is confession time. I and friends of mine who share my amateur radio hobby are known as nerds. Yes, it is true, as I am often reminded by my wife.
The hobby involves building and operating radio transmitters and receivers for experimental and recreational communications with other amateurs, also known as HAMs .


Governments the world over license the radio spectrum to us for one reason. In times of emergency, such as after tornadoes or hurricanes, when normal communications and phones are destroyed, ham operators step into the void enabling civil defense and emergency communications to be restored more quickly. Lives are often saved.
Now comes word of a ham operator using his radio skills and radio waves to kill cancer! Furthermore, his invention seems to kill only cancer cells, sparing surrounding normal tissues.
The story began several years ago when John Kanzius (known as K3TUP to his ham buddies the world over) retired from his job as a radio engineer and moved to Florida. His life of leisure was soon jeopardized by a leukemia diagnosis.
As he fought his way back to health, John developed a keen interest in applying his personal abilities to the fight against malignancy. As documented in the official monthly journal of the American Radio Relay League, John's contribution started with a nighttime epiphany.
All hams are trained to know that radio frequency energy can heat, even burn, tissue. Some of us learn the hard way. One night John, whose special interest in ham radio is the design of directional antennas to highly focus his radio signals in the direction of parts of the world with which he wishes to communicate, awakened thinking that radio waves could be directed into the body to heat and possibly destroy tumor cells. He began to refine his idea immediately. After learning to heat up his first patient, a hot dog wiener, he began to explore refinement of his ideas with his cancer doctors.
Eventually he was placed in contact with a medical researcher, Dr. Steven Curley of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Texas. Dr. Curley's contribution was the concept of injecting nanoparticles (small tubes of metal or carbon a billionth of a meter in length) into tumors before exposing the tumor to radio waves.
Subsequent experimental models have shown that the radio waves heat the nanoparticles which cook and destroy the tumor cells while surrounding tissues are spared. Research is ongoing and many more scientists have joined the team. No doubt John is still active on the ham bands, but his time "operating" between ham frequencies, at 13.56 MHZ will one day soon save thousands of lives.
For my part, I have long used a radio device to surgically remove moles and other unsightly skin lesions. The radio frequency knife generates radio frequency waves which travel down a loop of wire. When skin is moistened with water and the active wire is touched to the moist skin, the water is turned to steam and the skin parts like passing a hot knife through butter.
My electrosurgical instrument operates very near ham radio frequencies, the 75 meter band, but is shielded to prevent radio signals from escaping the instrument. This is the same frequency band that ham operators use to talk throughout their state and states immediately surrounding them. My unit is purchased, of course, and not of my own invention or design. And, while it intrigues me to know that I can use a type of radio to do simple skin surgery, the significance of this service to my patients pales in comparison to John's research.
Throughout the ages, ham operators have made major contributions by developing new and exciting ways to communicate using radio and computer technology. As a physician, I am very gratified to know that a ham operator may one day receive the credit for helping to destroy the dreaded killer: cancer! Well done John.
Dan Gold is medical director at Big Sandy Medical Center. The Healer's Corner is a general information medical column and is not intended for use in self-diagnosis and treatment of individual medical problems