A new experimental surgical knife has the ability to detect cancer.
The knife was developed by Dr. Zoltan Takats of Imperial College London, and can detect cancer in the smoke produced while using the heated knife to remove skin. Currently surgeons have to send skin samples that have been cut from patients to a lab, which then identifies if they are cancerous. In best case scenarios this takes at least 30 minutes. The new “smart” knife can detect if the cut skin contains cancer cells within seconds.
The smart knife, and the machines that make it work, currently cost $380,000 to create, but doctors believe that these prices will lower if the knife becomes commercialized. The smart knife has been used to analyze tumors in 91 patients, and it correctly identified cancer every time, reports The Boston Globe.
“If its usefulness is supported in further clinical trials, it could potentially reduce the time spent in theatre for many patients.” Dr Emma King, of Cancer Research UK, told the British Broadcasting Corporation.