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Cancer detected by surgical knife

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

USA Today: Doctors in London are testing a new knife that can detect cancer during surgery.

An experimental surgical knife can help surgeons make sure they've removed all the cancerous tissue, doctors reported Wednesday. Surgeons typically use knives that vaporize tumors 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.

Now surgeons have to send the tissue to a lab and wait for the results.

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.

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