iKnife: The smartest weapon against cancer

London, July 17, 2013. ICL staffer demonstrates the iKnife. Credit: Kieron Monks/MWN
The iKnife can detect whether the tissue it is cutting is cancerous.
Credit: Kieron Monks/MWN

The surgery fills with acrid smoke as the electronic knife sears lines into the patient. The smoke is captured and passes through a tube into a vending machine-sized gadget on wheels. After a few moments of analysis it responds: “Green, 92 percent healthy.”

The “patient” in this case is low quality pork, as medical ethics would not allow a human subject for this live demonstration of the iKnife. The surgical “intelligent knife” represents a potentially transformative breakthrough in the battle against cancer. “It can change the world,” says professor Jeremy Nicholson, head of surgery and cancer at Imperial College London (ICL), where the device was developed.

Using a process called Rapid Evaporative Ionization Mass Spectometry, the iKnife tells surgeons in real time whether the tissue they are cutting is cancerous. A trial of 91 patients recently concluded with 100 percent accuracy, and detection is sensitive enough to detect tumors 1/1000th the size of a pinhead.

While surgery is the leading treatment for the world’s biggest killer, it relies on crude methods. Surgeons must cut away high volumes of healthy tissue as an error margin. Worse still, they often miss cancerous tissue that causes the disease to recur even more dangerously.

The new gadget would reduce those recurrences and open up new opportunities, its developers say. “There would be more chance to operate on high-risk patients and shift the border between operable and inoperable,” the iKnife inventor and ICL surgeon Dr. Zoltan Takats told Metro.

The same technology could be used to identify other dangerous features such as blood disease or bacteria, and even to distinguish horsemeat from beef.

The iKnife is in its final trial and product design stages, following successful tests in Hungary, Germany and the U.K., with one challenge to reduce a unit price of around £250,000. ICL expect it to enter regular use “within a few years.”


Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.


Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…


OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…


MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.


Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."


'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.


'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."


TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.


Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.


Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.


Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”


Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.


Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.


Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…


NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.


The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.