The Loh Down On Science

A cutting-edge breakthrough for cancer!

Here's a new surgery tool that's nothing short of amazing!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Consider the cancer-surgeon's dilemma.  A tumor or healthy tissue?  There’s not always a way to tell the difference by sight.

Enter chemist Zoltan Takats from Imperial College London.  He's developed an intelligent knife. It can tell surgeons immediately if the tissues they're cutting contain cancer cells.

This “iKnife” is based on electrosurgical knives invented in the 1920s.  They use a current to heat the tissue as it's cut, minimizing bleeding.  The process also creates smoke.  

Zoltan realized the smoke was valuable.  So he connected an electrosurgical knife to a spectrometer, an instrument that can identify the biochemicals in the smoke.

In the lab, he used his iKnife to analyze hundreds of surgical samples, creating a library of what makes up cancerous versus non-cancerous tissue.  Then he performed 81 real-life iKnife operations.

Result?  The iKnife matched tissue types to its reference library in just three seconds, with 100% accuracy!

Wow.  This smart surgical tool really is . . . the sharpest knife in the drawer.

***** For more 90-SECOND SCIENCE FACTS, click here.*****

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, with 89.3 KPCC. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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