Research group seeking new ways to ‘diminish tumours’

A research group within the University of Malta led by Professor Sammut will be holding an international workshop on electromagnetic fields between tomorrow and Thursday.

Research Support Officer and PhD student Lourdes Abdilla conducting measurements of dielectric properties of biological tissue at University’s Electromagnetics Laboratory
Research Support Officer and PhD student Lourdes Abdilla conducting measurements of dielectric properties of biological tissue at University’s Electromagnetics Laboratory

The Electromagnetics Research Group (EMRG), within the University of Malta’s Department of Physics and led by Professor Charles V. Sammut, is attempting to establish whether microwaves could replace the use of MRIs and X-rays to diagnose certain cancers, while also diminishing tumours.

The group is active in aspects of medical applications of electromagnetic fields (EMF) and safety aspects associated with exposure of the general public and workers to non-ionising EMF.

Lourdes Abdilla, research support officer and a PhD student at University, among others led by Sammut, are measuring electrical properties of biological tissues over a wide range of frequencies and temperatures. This is necessitated by gaps in knowledge and outdated values in common use.

“Accurate knowledge of these properties is essential in order to be able to construct accurate computational models of the human body which can then be used to calculate and simulate the interaction of EMFs with the different organs. This is necessary for the development of new diagnostic tools and procedures as well as the planning and design of EMF ablative treatment systems for tumours,” Sammut said.

The project is being carried out with the collaboration of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery as well as the Animal Hospital at Ta' Qali.

Meanwhile, in response to the increasing global concern about the biological effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF), the EMRG is organising the 7th International Workshop on Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields.

This workshop, being held between tomorrow and Thursday at the Excelsior, will provide the ideal event for researchers, engineers, public authorities, consultants and industries from all over the world to come together and learn from each other.

“Over the 12-year span since the first event held in 2000, the IWSBEEMF has evolved in a unified and unique international forum for academics and professionals with cross-disciplinary interests related to the effects of non-ionising electromagnetic fields on biological systems.

“This bi-annual event serves as one of the principal reference bodies for presenting and discussing the most outstanding research and development, experiences and concerns in the field,” Sammut said.

The EMRG was established to conduct research across a broad range of topics, including antenna and sensor design, dielectric spectroscopy, electromagnetic compatibility and environmental exposure to electromagnetic fields.  

More in National