On Monday 24 September Hana Dobsicek Trefna held a lecture in connection with her promotion to senior lecturer (docent) at the department of Electrical Engineering at Chalmers. Her lecture was titled “Microwave hyperthermia, an emergent weapon in the war on cancer”.
What is your main point in your promotion lecture, Hana?
– In my lecture I will describe the role of hyperthermia in today’s cancer treatment, as well as giving a future outlook on the potentials for the method to become the fourth pillar of cancer care. Hyperthermia is defined as controlled elevation of tumor temperature to 40-44°C. This treatment is toxic for the tumor itself, whilst also making the tumor more sensitive to traditional chemo and radiation therapies. The major technological challenge is, due to the large wavelengths and high absorption rates in tissues, to achieve and accurately predict high temperatures in deep-seated tumors without heating the surrounding healthy tissues.
What has made you specially interested in research on microwave hyperthermia treatment?
– Ever since I was a master´s student, I have been interested in biomedical engineering to contribute to human health. Microwave hyperthermia is a very elegant method that uses the human body´s own weapon to fight the cancer cells by raising the temperature in the tumor. The clinical studies has reported significantly improved treatment outcome without increased risk of side effects. In the future, with better heating devices, the method has a great potential to contribute to higher survival rates and to a better life for children and adults with a cancer diagnosis without any good treatment option today.
What is the best thing about your job?
– There are two parts that I really like about my job. First, the field is very broad and contains many different aspects, which requires both theoretical knowledge and practical skills; from modelling to actually building the physical system. If you sometimes get bored with one task you can easily switch over to another to get variety… The other part that I really appreciate is to work with students and to supervise them in my projects. I enjoy seeing their enthusiasm and development. That fills me with energy!
Text: Yvonne Jonsson, Communicator at Chalmers
Photo: Oscar Mattsson