Is electromagnetic radiation, a health hazard or a great benefit? Electromagnetic radiation is a ubiquitous form of energy to which we are continuously exposed when using our mobile phones, wireless devices at home, at the office and virtually everywhere. Along the years, many researchers have focused their work on the health risks. However, in the last decade there have been huge efforts to use electromagnetic fields for our own benefit in biomedical applications both in treatment and diagnosis of diseases such as cancer and many others.
These and many other potential medical applications are currently being discussed as part of a European networking project awarded to the University of Malta, COST MyWAVE, led by Dr Lourdes Farrugia from the Department of Physics, Faculty of Science and Dr Emily Porter from the National University of Ireland, Galway.
During the opening ceremony, which was held at the Malta Council for Science and Technology grounds, Villa Bighi, Kalkara, Professor Tanya Sammut-Bonnici acknowledged the importance of this field of research and the societal impact of the project. This network aims at advancing these technologies by taking current prototypes from the laboratory closer to the patient bedside, with better treatment monitoring and planning, and also develop novel medical devices based on electromagnetic hyperthermia.
As stated by Professor Charles V. Sammut, Dean of Faculty of Science and group leader of the Electromagnetics Research Group at the University of Malta, the current clinical challenges of these technologies require close collaboration and coordinated effort between researchers in the physical sciences, engineering, mathematics, clinical fields and industry, also acknowledged at European level.
Professor Janet Mifsud, national co-ordinator of COST, emphasised that “there should be no borders between industrial and academic research, the former working on products and solutions for tomorrow, the latter for the day after tomorrow…”
The Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST) is the national co-ordinator for the EU’s COST programme and MCST Chairman, Dr Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, highlighted that “COST has become a noteworthy tool in the local R and I scenario. It is used by our scientists and researchers, with the full support of MCST, in their efforts to network with their counterparts in Europe and beyond.”