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Cancer

Shockwave therapy could help some cancer treatments, researchers find

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 2021-08-09
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The new findings are published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences (Lauren Hurley/PA) (PA Archive)

Shockwave therapy could help some assist the treatments of some cancers, new research has suggested.

University of Aberdeen researchers found there may be previously unknown benefits to the therapy which is often used as a last resort to treat wounds that do not heal through conventional methods.

One example in the new findings, published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, suggests shockwave therapy might be suitable to assist in treating certain types of cancer.

The researchers, in conjunction with NHS Grampian’s Department of Vascular Surgery, also found it can kick-start the properties of important white blood cells, so they develop functions to make wounds heal such as clearing away debris and infection.

The benefit of shockwave therapy could be wider than previously thought, though conversely, it may also explain why the therapy is not effective on all patients

Wounds which had been ongoing and non-healing for over three months were examined in great detail and the team applied the same clinical intensity shockwaves to white blood cells in their laboratory.

High intensity extracorporeal shockwave therapy has been used to disintegrate urinary stones for over 30 years but other more recent studies also revealed the technology might be suitable to assist the treatment of several conditions, including soft tissue wounds, using low intensity waves.

Lead researcher Heather Wilson, professor of immunology at the University of Aberdeen, said: “This new study shows the benefit of shockwave therapy could be wider than previously thought, though conversely, it may also explain why the therapy is not effective on all patients.

“More research is required of course, but the results of studying white blood cells in the laboratory while they are exposed to shockwaves suggests there may be wider uses for the therapy, and it also allows us to be more targeted in those who receive it.”

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