The intelligent surgical iKnife can detect cancer within seconds

Scientists have developed an “intelligent knife” that can detect womb cancer with a diagnostic accuracy of nearly 90% accuracy.

According to The Guardian, the iKnife is a high-tech surgical knife. The knife was previously used to treat breast and brain cancer, butnow the iKnife can be used to accurately detect the presence of womb cancer in seconds.

The disease is the fourth most common cancer in women and affects about 9,000 a year in the UK, but only about 10% of those with suspected symptoms who undergo a biopsy are found to have it.

The iKnife has been created by a team of researchers at Imperial College London – Source: ICL

The iKnife has also been shown to accurately discriminate between normal and malignant tissue across various tumour sites including colon, breast, cervical, and ovarian tissues. Scientists from Imperial College London (ICL) tested and found that iKnife reliably diagnose endometrial cancer in seconds, with a diagnostic accuracy of 89%.

The researchers said its effectiveness was proved in the study published in the Cancers journal. It was conducted with the aim of whether the iKnife can correctly identify endometrial cancer from endometrial Pipelle biopsy samples. Researchers tested the system by analysing the biopsy tissue samples from 150 women with suspected womb cancer, and the results compared with current diagnosis methods. Following a future major clinical trial, the iKnife’s newest capability could become yet another widespread feature for the smart device.

iKnife can pave the way for new diagnostic pathways – Source: ICL

According to information from Imperial College London, iKnife is based on electrosurgery, a technique invented in 1920 that is commonly used today. Electrosurgical knives use an electrical current to rapidly heat tissue, cutting through it. In doing so, they vaporise the tissue, creating smoke that is normally sucked away by extraction systems.

The inventor – Dr Zoltan Takats 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.

This method is faster and easier to implement than the traditional one, promising to pave the way for new diagnostic pathways.



Knife that ‘smells tumours’ can detect womb cancer within seconds | Cancer | The Guardian

“Intelligent knife” tells surgeon if tissue is cancerous | Imperial News | Imperial College London


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