The Intelligent Knife Invented By Dr Zoltan Takats

1730 words - 7 pages



According to the inventor of the Intelligent Knife, Dr. Zoltan Takats, the Intelligent Knife is a is an emerging technology that allows near–real-time characterization of human tissue in vivo by analysis of the aerosol (“smoke”) released during electrosurgical dissection (Takats). The coupling of Rapid Evaporative Ionization Mass Spectrometry (REIMS) technology with electro surgery for tissue diagnostics is known as the Intelligent Knife or iKnife (Takats).

History and Development

In the past, when breast cancer patients underwent surgery, the doctor cuts open the suspected affected area and obtained a small portion of the tissue. After performing that action, the doctor then sent the issue sample off to the laboratory for analysis. That process took approximately 30 minutes or more.

In some cases the patient had to be sewn up and then later operated on. However, this method of cutting and analyzing the tissue in a laboratory is fading away. The reason being is because of Dr. Takats Intelligent Knife.

Dr. Takats invented the Intelligent Knife because he wanted to find a way to streamline the analysis process for breast cancer surgeries. The development of the Intelligent Knife is still underway and is now in the testing phase of development.

How It works

The Intelligent Knife is anticipated to be the go to surgical instrument with most breast cancer surgeries. This is in part because of its technological capabilities and risk mitigation it offers. The Intelligent Knife operates by having electric pulses run through the knife with a suction valve strategically placed near the knife (see figure 1).

Essentially what happens is the knife with electric current begins to burn the applied area and releases smoke. The suction valve then inhales the smoke and guides it to the mass spectrometer. The mass spectrometer runs a molecular analysis of the smoke and displays the results on a screen near the operating table

Intelligent Knife / Suction Valve
(figure 1, The International News)


Zoltan Takats of Imperial College London, developer of the Intelligent Knife, initially tested the iKnife in an operating room on tissue samples from 302 surgery patients. The Intelligent Knife recognized whether the cancer was malignant or benign and whether the tissue came from lungs, brains, breasts, stomachs, colons, livers, and more in less than three seconds (Moore).

Another tissue study from 91 surgeries showed that the Intelligent Knife again recognized the exact tissue type every time on the database (Moore). According to Dr. Takats, this evidence proves that the Intelligent Knife can be used in a wide range of cancer surgery procedures. With breast cancer being the primary focus of this research, the ideal candidates for the Intelligent Knife are individuals that have be diagnosed with any stage of breast cancer. According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, 20 percent of...

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