Medical students in the United Kingdom have developed a new breed of scalpel that is capable of differentiating between cancerous and non-cancerous tissue. The scalpel, dubbed the iKnife, was developed by researchers at London's Imperial College and Australia's Daily Telegraph. They reported that early testing yielded 100 percent accuracy in identifying malignant tissue in cancer patients.
The iKnife is an electric scalpel that burns through tissue as opposed to slicing through it as a blade would. The iKnife then analyzes the smoke to determine whether or not the tissue in question is healthy or cancerous. iKnife inventor, Dr Zoltan Takats, says it could be a game changer for resection surgery, which usually involves doctors making an on-the-spot decision on where to cut when resecting tumors.
The device is currently being tested at St Mary's Hospital, Hammersmith Hospital and Charing Cross Hospital in London. According to Reuters, the next step is a clinical trial. Zoltan hopes to involve between 1,000 and 1,500 people with different types of cancers in the trial. After the trial (which will take two to three years), the iKnife will be submitted for regulatory approval ahead of its commercialization.