Re: clever chinese surgeons turn tumor into ball of ice

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Sun Feb 13 2000 - 19:35:22 MST

On Sun, 13 Feb 2000, Doug Skrecky wrote:

> cool!

Not!!! Though it may simply be bad reporting.

Doug, if you could, post this note back to cryonet as an
exercise for the discriminating reader...

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Message #13249
> Chinese Doctors Claim Cancer-Treatment Breakthrough
> BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese surgeons are declaring a breakthrough in
> cancer treatment after turning a patient's malignant tumor into a ball
> of ice, state media said on Saturday.

Cryotherapy has been around for quite some time. It is very commonly
used on warts.

> Doctors at Xijing Hospital in the northwestern city of Xian inserted a
> superconductive knife, 0.0788 inches in diameter, into the tumor of
> liver cancer patient, Xinhua news agency said.

Ok, lets see, "superconductive". That implies a aluminium germanium
niobium knife with a temperature of ~21K (-252C) or a High Temperature
superconductor [e.g. Bi2CaCu2O8Sr2 @ 120K (-153C)]. The question is
*why* do you need a superconductor??? Once you get through the skin
the body is a fairly good conductor (salt water conducts electricty
due to the ionic charges). They don't say anything about "electrocuting"
the tumor.

> By forcing high-pressure argon and helium gas through the knife point,
> they were able to lower the temperature of the tumor to minus 220.

Well, argon has a freezing point of -189C and helium has a boiling
point of -270C. So they are forcing argon "ice" and helium "gas"
into the knife point ??? Now maybe they can fudge this by changing
the pressures involved, but I'm not sure of the point of this approach.
Why not use much cheaper LN2 or LO2 as a coolant???

> ``In 60 seconds, the tumor became an ice ball,'' the article said,
> adding ``all cancer cells were killed.''

No matter what you use, if you deliver a coolant that cold to a
localized tissue area and remove the heat the body is producing
you *will* produce a ball of ice.

> ``The operation took only 30 minutes. The patient felt no pain and there
> was no bleeding,'' it said.

There very few pain receptors inside the body and there will
not be any blood loss if you freeze or cauterize the tissue.

> ``The therapy is a breakthrough in cancer treatment,'' it quoted Dou
> Kefeng, a surgeon in charge of the operation, as saying.

I'd have to go through the literature, but I think this has been
done before. All they may have developed is a reasonably good
localized delivery method and even that is suspect because the
facts seem to add up.


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