Now, smart knife to tell surgeon if tissue is cancerous | HT Tech

Now, smart knife to tell surgeon if tissue is cancerous

Scientists have developed a 'smartknife' that can tell surgeons immediately whether the tissue they are cutting is cancerous or not.

By:PTI
| Updated on: Jul 19 2013, 00:48 IST

Scientists have developed a 'smartknife' that can tell surgeons immediately whether the tissue they are cutting is cancerous or not.

One in five breast cancer patients who have surgery require a second operation to fully remove the cancer. The new device can eliminate the need for repeated surgery.

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In the first study to test the invention in the operating theatre, the 'iKnife' diagnosed tissue samples from 91 patients with 100 % accuracy, instantly providing information that normally takes up to half an hour to reveal using laboratory tests.

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Electrosurgical knives use an electrical current to rapidly heat tissue, cutting through it while minimising blood loss.

In doing so, they vaporise the tissue, creating smoke that is normally sucked away by extraction systems.

The inventor of the iKnife, Dr Zoltan Takats of Imperial College London, realised that this smoke would be a rich source of biological information.

To create the iKnife, he connected an electrosurgical knife to a mass spectrometer, an analytical instrument used to identify what chemicals are present in a sample.

Different types of cell produce thousands of metabolites in different concentrations, so the profile of chemicals in a biological sample can reveal information about the state of that tissue.

The iKnife works by matching its readings during surgery to the reference library to determine what type of tissue is being cut, giving a result in less than three seconds.

The technology was then transferred to the operating theatre to perform real-time analysis during surgery. In all 91 tests, the tissue type identified by the iKnife matched the post-operative diagnosis based on traditional methods.

'These results provide compelling evidence that the iKnife can be applied in a wide range of cancer surgery procedures.

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First Published Date: 18 Jul, 16:31 IST
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