Medicine: Starving the Tumor

Technical progress in areas apparently unrelated to medicine can sometimes lead to spectacular medical progress. Dr. Robert Rand, a neurosurgeon at the University of California at Los Angeles, has demonstrated a particular knack for encouraging just that sort of scientific serendipity. A decade ago he borrowed from the emerging technology of cryogenics (application of temperatures close to absolute zero*) and helped to adapt an extremely cold probe to destroy hard-to-reach pituitary tissue in brain operations. Now Rand is making use of another recently utilized phenomenon: superconductivity. With the help of a powerful "superconductive" magnet, he is accomplishing knifeless, bloodless destruction of...

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