A new tool that helps surgeons distinguish healthy tissue from tumor in real-time could change the landscape of surgical ovarian cancer treatment for the better.
The practice of treating ovarian cancer largely through surgery is still an imperfect science.
A full clearance surgery that removes the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes and ovaries is effective at removing all cancerous tissue, but also removes potentially healthy tissue – which is not ideal for younger women who are concerned about their future fertility.
In other cases, where only one ovary is removed, the surgery may not be radical enough. Cancerous cells could be left behind, prompting the need for further treatment or additional surgery.
However, a new tool that helps surgeons distinguish healthy tissue from tumor in real-time could change the landscape of surgical ovarian cancer treatment for the better.
Created by Zoltán Takáts, Ph.D., a professor of analytical chemistry at Imperial College London, the iKnife combines the scientific processes of surgery and mass spectrometry by weighing the molecules released in each puff of biologically-rich vapor, which is released during surgery, to identify what tissue the instrument is cutting in real time.
“With the iKnife we’re able to analyze the individual components that make up different tissues and tell them apart,” Takáts explained in a statement. “So, in surgery, you would know exactly what type of tissue you’re cutting through.”
Takáts and his colleagues recently published their research on this experimental device in the British Journal of Cancer, where they explained how the iKnife was tested in the lab.
After testing samples that were collected during surgery, the team compared the iKnife’s results with pathology reports and found that it was able to…