Researcher at Imperial College London Develops Smart Knife that Allows Surgeons to Detect Cancer In Situ and Without Pathologist Review
Pathologists take note: In one clinical study, diagnostic results produced by a prototype “smart knife” matched postoperative histological diagnosis in 100% of cases
Will a smart knife used in cancer surgery eventually replace the need for a skilled pathologist to diagnose tissue collected during such surgeries?
That’s a question that may be asked in the future if an invention developed at Imperial College London makes it through clinical trials and is accepted for use in patient care. Researchers at Imperial College developed a surgical knife that allows doctors to discern cancer in real-time during surgery—and without consulting with a pathologist.
This invention, dubbed an intelligent knife or iKnife, could be a significant development for clinical laboratory professionals and pathologists if primary research is validated in planned clinical trials.
Pathologists know that when a patient is suspected of having cancer, the current protocols for frozen specimens call for tissue specimens to be sent from the surgical suite to the medical laboratory for analysis. This step may take 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, the study points out, the patient remains in surgery and under anesthesia. The surgeon waits to learn from the pathologist whether more tissue may need to be removed to ensure that no malignant cells remain in the patient. (more…)