Currently surgeons do not have a way to know for sure that they have removed every cancer cell from the body during the procedure, first time. This means that many patients may require reoperation which can have significant financial as well as physical implications.
But all this could change thanks to an experimental surgical device called the intelligent knife (iKnife) that has the unique ability to sniff out cancer cells. Developed by Imperial College London’s Professor Zoltan Takats, the iKnife works out the chemical composition of surgical smoke to differentiate cancer tissue and healthy tissue apart in theatre, when it had the potential to boost the accuracy of cancer surgery.
The development of the iKnife is an exemplary case study of how converging distinct disciplines - surgery, analytical chemistry, cancer biology and machine learning - can lead to innovative solutions that will create a paradigm shift in cancer care.
Read the following Cancer Research UK Science Blog to learn more about the how the iKnife was developed, how it works, and to hear about the first in human surgical trial funded by Cancer Research UK: