Harmony becomes cacophony: when healthy cells become cancerous
A novel method to improve cancer surgery and early cancer detection
By John Stuart Reid
A new study published in the Water Journal describes a novel method for comparing the sounds of cancer cells and healthy cells. The method may lead to the development of an Artificial Intelligence–supported surgical procedure for the removal of tumors. A form of the technology also holds promise for early cancer detection.
The Singing Cell
The discovery that cells create sound, as a feature of their natural metabolic function, was made by Professor James Gimzewski of UCLA, in 2002. Using an Atomic Force Microscope, he and his colleague, Dr. Andrew Pelling, were able to listen to the sounds of cells for the first time and, surprisingly, they found that the sounds lie in the audible range. In other words, if our ears were sensitive enough we would be able to hear the sounds of our own cells. (Perhaps it is fortunate that we cannot.) Professor Gimzewski named their new approach to cell biology, “sonocytology,” combining “sono” (sound) with ”cytology’” (the
study of cells). In Dr. Pelling’s article “The Singing Cell”1 he says, “Observing cells in different situations, [for example] cells under stress, generates different sounds. In fact the state of the cell, if it is healthy or cancerous, can be distinguished by listening to its sound. In future we hope to bring our research in sonocytology to the point at which it can be integrated in medical disciplines such as cancer research. Listening to cells would allow a fast diagnosis of cancer without the use of drugs or surgery. Sonocytology might also make cancer detection possible before a tumor forms.”