The iKnife uses an electrical current to rapidly heat tissue, cutting through it while minimizing blood loss.
Endometrial cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women, only 10 percent of those with suspected symptoms who undergo a biopsy are found to have it, The Guardian reported.
But with a breakthrough discovery in medical science, it is now possible to detect with the help of ‘intelligent knife’ or iKnife. It has a high diagnostic accuracy of 89 percent and a positive predictive value of 94 percent.
The inventor of this revolutionary instrument, Dr. Zoltan Takats of Imperial College London, connected an electrosurgical knife to a mass spectrometer years ago, to create the iKnife. A mass spectrometer can identify the chemicals present in a sample. As different types of cells can produce metabolites in various concentrations, the profile of chemicals in a sample can reveal a host of information about the tissue.
The iKnife is based on electrosurgery. Electrosurgical knives employ an electrical current to quickly heat tissue, “cutting through it while minimizing blood loss. In doing so, they vaporize the tissue, creating smoke that is normally sucked away by extraction systems,” according to a release.
Research lead, Sadaf Ghaem-Maghami, explained to The Guardian that with a positive predictive value of 94 percent, the iKnife could soon “immediately reassure” someone of an extremely low likelihood of cancer, while also expediting additional testing and treatment for those with potentially positive biopsies.
“There are many reasons for abnormal vaginal bleeding after the menopause – womb cancer is just one of them – the ability to provide a diagnostic test that rules cancer in or out immediately, and with accuracy, could make such a positive difference.
“This Eve-supported research has the potential to create a step change in faster diagnosis, and for the 90% of women with postmenopausal bleeding that isn’t cancer, a really effective way to put their minds at ease.
We know how important this is for patients.”Alison, a 57-year-old from west London who had symptoms of womb cancer earlier this year but eventually got the all-clear, said the iKnife would have made a huge difference to her experience.
“Thankfully, I was one of the people with postmenopausal bleeding lucky enough to find out it wasn’t caused by cancer. It was really frustrating waiting for the results, which was almost three weeks for me.
“I was asked to go in person to receive the results too, which to me was a clear indication that it was bad news and I did have womb cancer. It was terrifying.
“It would have made such a difference to know straight away that I didn’t have cancer and not have to wait three weeks.”
According to the researchers, the effectiveness of the instrument was proved using biopsy tissue samples from 150 women who were suspected of womb cancer. The iKnife used electrical currents to distinguish between cancerous and healthy tissue by analyzing the smoke emitted when the biopsy tissue is vaporized, post-removal from the womb.