A research project which is hoped to improve the outcomes of head and neck cancer surgery by providing real-time analysis of the tissue as it is removed, has gained a prestigious prize for a consultant at Queen Victoria Hospital.
Jagtar Dhanda, a consultant maxillofacial/head and neck cancer surgeon, has been working with the team from Imperial College who have developed the intelligent knife or “iKnife” that can tell surgeons immediately whether the tissue they are cutting is cancerous or not.
It is estimated around 200,000 people die worldwide each year because of cancer to the head and neck. As well as removing the cancer, getting positive surgical margins, where you remove enough tissue to excise the cancer, whilst preserving as much healthy tissue as possible, is a real challenge.
The “iKnife” technology allows real time detection of cancer tissue by analysing the smoke generated from surgical cutting instruments. The smoke is analysed by a mass spectrometer in real-time to effectively tell the surgeon if they are cutting too far. The technology has a 96 per cent accuracy.
Jagtar presented the research at the British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons meeting and was awarded the President's Prize for the presentation entitled 'iKnife Rapid Evaporative Ionisation Mass Spectrometry (REMIS) technology in head and neck surgery study.'
He now hopes to further develop this technology, and the techniques for its most effective use, in a new clinical trial.
Commenting on the award Jagtar Dhanda said: “I’m delighted to be leading this study on behalf of Queen Victoria Hospital, and working with colleagues from Newcastle, Liverpool, The Royal Marsden and Imperial College London. It is an honour to receive the President’s Prize and am looking forward to developing this technology further. I’m also grateful to the QVH Charity for funding me to conduct this research which has the potential to make a real difference to patient outcomes.”
Pictured: Ian Martin, President of the British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, presenting Jagtar Dhanda, consultant maxillofacial/head and neck cancer surgeon with the President’s Prize.