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Radiotherapy has been used to treat cancer.

Can the resonances by coordinated electromagnetic waves (and/or other forms of waves), of various frequencies, amplitudes and pulse rates, directed from various directions, be used to destroy harmful viruses, bacteria or cancer cells in a human body, without damaging the other parts of the human body?

(* NOTE * This question was posted here in Physics Stack Exchange too, but is possibly going to be closed in that forum as some claimed it is not so much about Physics.)

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Bio. This is definitely Bio and not a Physics question in this form. What do you mean with resonances? $\endgroup$ – AliceD Feb 22 '16 at 13:03
  • $\begingroup$ By resonance I mean the molecules/structure of a, say, virus is made to vibrate with increasing amplitudes until the structure gets destroyed. $\endgroup$ – Chong Lip Phang Feb 22 '16 at 13:08
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    $\begingroup$ You cannot take things like that. Viruses/bacteria are made up of billions of atoms/molecules, all of which have their own resonance frequencies, and most of which may not coincide. To destroy a bacterium/virus, you will have to attack it with all of those billions of frequencies, millions of which will affect/destroy the neighboring cells too. It would be just like you make a man explode just by putting him on a speaker which produces that man's resonance frequencies. ;-) $\endgroup$ – another 'Homo sapien' Feb 22 '16 at 13:39
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    $\begingroup$ Well, we don't have to explode something entirely to kill it. $\endgroup$ – Chong Lip Phang Feb 22 '16 at 18:25
  • $\begingroup$ ...and we don't have to kill something to make it dysfunctional. $\endgroup$ – Chong Lip Phang Jul 15 '17 at 1:38
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Your question included "other forms of waves" so I'm going to assume that the use of ultrasound to destroy cancer cells qualifies.

A paper published in the British Journal of Cancer in 2009: "[High-intensity-focused-ultrasound in the treatment of primary prostate cancer: the first UK series]"1 describes the use of a "Sonablate 500" device used to treat 172 men with prostate cancers at two hospitals in the UK, and its use is described as resulting in "acceptable short-term levels of cancer control."

However, the paper does lament the deficiencies of research in this area, the number of other treatments available, and the lack of longer-term follow-up to this research.

The answer to your question appears to be yes, with the qualification that this is an example using sound waves, rather than electromagnetic waves - isn't radiotherapy, mentioned in the first sentence of the question, electromagnetic waves?

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  • $\begingroup$ Interesting. Yes, I am referring to all forms of waves, including perhaps magnetic fields, which have been used in MRI. I hope more research can be carried out in these fields. $\endgroup$ – Chong Lip Phang May 9 '16 at 14:15

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