An experimental surgical knife can help surgeons make sure they've removed all the cancerous tissue, doctors reported Wednesday. Surgeons typically
use knives that heat tissue as they cut, producing a sharp-smelling smoke.
The new knife, known as the iKnife, analyzes the smoke and can instantly signal whether the tissue is cancerous or healthy in seconds and may help
improve tumor removal in the operating room.
The iKnife uses mass spectrometry to examine the surgical smoke given off by evaporating tissue, alerting the surgeon in three seconds as to what it
Dr. Zoltan Takats of Imperial College London suspected the smoke produced during cancer surgery might contain some important cancer clues. So he
designed a ‘‘smart’’ knife hooked up to a refrigerator-sized mass spectrometry device on wheels that analyzes the smoke from cauterizing
The smoke picked up by the smart knife is compared to a library of smoke ‘‘signatures’’ from cancerous and non-cancerous tissues. Information
appears on a monitor: green means the tissue is healthy, red means cancerous and yellow means unidentifiable.
Scientists tested the new knife at three hospitals between 2010 and 2012. Tissue samples were taken from 302 patients to create a database of which
kinds of smoke contained cancers, including those of the brain, breast, colon, liver, lung and stomach.
That was then used to analyze tumors from 91 patients; the smart knife correctly spotted cancer in every case. The study was published Wednesday in
the journal Science Translational Medicine.
The new knife, which looks like a fat white pen, and its accompanying machines were made for about $380,000 but scientists said the price tag would
likely drop if the technology is commercialized, which they speculate may be another year or so.
This is wonderful news if it's as reliable as they claim it is.
Naturally more research will be needed to substantiate their claims.
And of course, drop the price down where more doctors/hospitals can afford it.
edit on 18-7-2013 by snarky412 because: (no reason given)