Along with making our lives easier, technology is saving lives. One of the latest life saving technology inventions is the iKnife which stands for “intelligent knife.”
The iKnife is a smart knife that helps surgeons find cancerous tissue real-time during surgery. The current method of determining if a tissue is cancerous involves lab tests which takes time. The intelligent knife can detect if what a surgeon is cutting is cancerous within 3 seconds. Created by Dr. Zoltan Takats at Imperial College London to aid in surgery involving tumor removal.
In cancers involving solid tumours, removal of the cancer in surgery is generally the best hope for treatment. The surgeon normally takes out the tumour with a margin of healthy tissue. However, it is often impossible to tell by sight which tissue is cancerous. One in five breast cancer patients who have surgery require a second operation to fully remove the cancer. In cases of uncertainty, the removed tissue is sent to a lab for examination while the patient remains under general anaesthetic.
While the original focus of the iKnife was on cancer diagnosis, Dr Takats says the iKnife can identify many other features, such as tissue with an inadequate blood supply, or types of bacteria present in the tissue. He has also carried out experiments using it to distinguish horse meat from beef.
How Accurate is the iKnife? Out of 91 tests, 100% have returned accurate.
Each of us knows someone effected by cancer. While this is not a cure for the awful disease, it’s a step forward it treatment – and we need any step forward we can get.
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