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Smart Knife Sniffs Out Cancer Cells

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the all-other-knives-in-the-world-are-now-called-dumbknives dept.

Medicine 28

sciencehabit writes "When surgeons can't determine the edges of a tumor, it's a problem. Cut too much, and they risk hurting the patient. Cut too little, and they may leave stray cancer cells behind. Now, researchers have developed a surgical knife that can sniff the smoke made as it cuts tissue, almost instantly detecting whether cells are cancerous or healthy. The 'intelligent knife,' or iKnife could distinguish normal and tumor tissues from different organs, such as breast, liver, and brain, and could even identify the origin of a tumor that was a metastasis, a secondary growth seeded by a primary tumor elsewhere in the body."

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Define cancer cell. (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#44311175)

Seriously, if there were a truly defining characteristic of cancer cells, we'd be in a lot better shape to cure it. Cancer has a multitude of causes and phenotypes.

Re:Define cancer cell. (2, Interesting)

Xicor (2738029) | about a year ago | (#44311327)

there may be different underlying causes as well as different types of cancer, but im sure there are markers that say "hey, this is cancerous".... wait... we already knew there were markers like that. if a doctor can tell if cells are cancerous, why shouldnt a computer be able to do it?

Re:Define cancer cell. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44311863)

I don't know what doctors you're seeing, but if they're making a cancer diagnosis by taking a big whiff you probably overpaid.

In all seriousness, smell is not an established diagnostic indicator and cancer is a very heterogeneous disease. To compound matters, there are a LOT of different tissue types in the human body.

I fully expect this system to be just as effective as the ADE 651: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADE_651

Re:Define cancer cell. (1)

YoungManKlaus (2773165) | about a year ago | (#44315615)

"smell" is not what you do (which arguably is not very useful for detecting anything except maybe rotten food), but just a bad description for analysing gaseous materials. You could also say any beathalizer is using a "smell" sensor, as well as any other device that eg. tells you the gas composition of the air or similar.

Re:Define cancer cell. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44311391)

Did you read the article? In this case, they are defining cancer based on lipid ratios. They know that certain lipid ratios are characteristic for cancer. This doesn't help us cure it though. You can't make a drug that is specific to lipid ratios. At least not yet. Medical technology is advancing rapidly.

Re:Define cancer cell. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44312083)

Good old correlation = causation = rapid advances in medical tech

Re:Define cancer cell. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44312263)

Seriously, if there were a truly defining characteristic of cancer cells, we'd be in a lot better shape to cure it. Cancer has a multitude of causes and phenotypes.

Take samples of cells that are definitely part of the cancer, then take samples of cells that are definitely outside the cancer. Then compare the vapors to calibrate. Then add the results to a library to help further calibrate future treatments on the same or other patients.

Re:Define cancer cell. (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#44316773)

to calibrate

Calibration depends on having an objective measure in the first place.

iDevice again? (3, Funny)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44311265)

can somebody please pick another letter of the alphabet? e- wore itself out years ago, i- seems to be getting old. Time to move on to the next vowel? oKnife? Might be big in Ireland...

Re:iDevice again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44311393)

Next is X! becuase it's XXXTRA XXXTREME!

Re:iDevice again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44311441)

I propose the zKnife because it is twice as good as xKnife.

Re:iDevice again? (1)

agrisea (877522) | about a year ago | (#44311483)

Sorry, I have a copyright on Xtreme.. :p

Re:iDevice again? (1)

RoknrolZombie (2504888) | about a year ago | (#44311551)

can somebody please pick another letter of the alphabet? e- wore itself out years ago, i- seems to be getting old. Time to move on to the next vowel? oKnife? Might be big in Ireland...

They'll change the name as soon as Apple sues them.

Re:iDevice again? (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year ago | (#44311727)

I would go for "yi".
Try saying "yiPhone" or "yiPad" - bam, instant recognition of your branded device :)

Re:iDevice again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44312465)

yiauta (works better if you say it)

Re:iDevice again? (1)

Beorytis (1014777) | about a year ago | (#44311865)

I like it. Let's keep on diluting Apple's trademark claim to iAnything.

Re:iDevice again? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#44324439)

That would only work if Knife was an object, not an int.

Re:iDevice again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44327225)

Suitably nerdy. Well done.

iKnife? (1)

Aelanna (2695123) | about a year ago | (#44311587)

"Siri, cut out this tumor, please." "Alright, let me remove that heart for you."

Re:iKnife? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44311739)

"Siri, cut out this tumor, please."

"Alright, I will cut ot two more pieces."

Replace the doctor with a robot (2)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year ago | (#44311703)

Seriously, how close are we to having this precision surgery done by a robot.

Mate it with a roomba (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44322261)

It sucks while it cuts!

That is amazing.. (2)

houbou (1097327) | about a year ago | (#44312171)

This means that surgeons will now have a new skill to learn as they must learn to recognize the signs and adapt their surgical styles to complement this new tool. Still, this is amazing.. It's like PhotoShop's Magic Wand for selecting pieces of a graphic, except this is for surgical cancer removal.. :)

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44312691)

We've technically invented the healing shiv?

Burgess Meredith (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44312723)

Don't let Burgess Meredith get hold of this; he'll murder somebody with it and they'll just turn it off.

Science Fiction Comes True (2)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about a year ago | (#44312951)

The Little Black Bag, C. M. Kornbluth, 1950 (Astounding Science Fiction).

Re:Science Fiction Comes True (1)

rnturn (11092) | about a year ago | (#44314701)

Rod Serling's "Night Gallery" adapted that for TV. One of the earliest episodes, if memory serves.
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