New surgical knife can instantly detect cancer

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    Found at Philadelphia Inquirer

    New surgical knife can instantly detect cancer

    MARIA CHENG, The Associated Press
    Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 1:34 PM
    LONDON (AP) - Surgeons may have a new way to smoke out cancer. An experimental surgical knife can help surgeons make sure they've removed all the cancerous tissue, doctors reported Wednesday. Surgeons typically use knives that heat tissue as they cut, producing a sharp-smelling smoke. The new knife analyzes the smoke and can instantly signal whether the tissue is cancerous or healthy.

    Dr. Zoltan Takats of Imperial College London suspected the smoke produced during cancer surgery might contain some important cancer clues. So he designed a "smart" knife hooked up to a refrigerator-sized mass spectrometry device on wheels that analyzes the smoke from cauterizing tissue. More coverage Largest-ever cancer data set made public Second Cancer More Likely for Colon Cancer Survivors: Study The smoke picked up by the smart knife is compared to a library of smoke "signatures" from cancerous and non-cancerous tissues. Information appears on a monitor: green means the tissue is healthy, red means cancerous and yellow means unidentifiable....

    ..."(The new knife) looks fabulous," said Dr. Emma King, a head and neck cancer surgeon at Cancer Research U.K., who was not connected to the project. The smoke contains broken-up bits of tumor tissue and "it makes sense to look at it more carefully," she said.

    The new knife and its accompanying machines were made for about 250,000 ($380,000) but scientists said the price tag would likely drop if the technology is commercialized....


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