Scientists test new Scalpel that sniffs out cancer
British scientists are to begin trials of a revolutionary scalpel that can detect cancerous cells as it cuts.
The iKnife scalpel works by burning as it cuts, with the resulting smoke sucked into a machine which gives an instantaneous analysis of the tissue being operated on, enabling the surgeon to see if all of a cancerous tumour has been removed.
Scientists at Imperial College London will begin trials of the scalpel at the end of this year to see if the technology could reduce the number of breast cancer patients who need more surgery.
The iKnife collects the smoke from the surgery which is analysed in a mass spectrometer, producing the patient's results in a matter of seconds.
The scalpel could be in general use in breast cancer in three years and in brain tumours in five years.