Research news & hot topics

On this page you will find information about relevant research trials, news items and campaigns.


Scientists have developed an "intelligent 
knife" that can tell surgeons immediately whether the tissue they are cutting is cancerous or not. This has been called a potential 'game-changer' for cancer surgery. Sam Wong elaborates in his article: 

"In the first study to test the invention in the operating theatre, the “iKnife” diagnosed tissue samples from 91 patients with 100 per cent accuracy, instantly providing information that normally takes up to half an hour to reveal using laboratory tests.

The findings, by researchers at Imperial College London, are published today in the journal Science Translational Medicine. The study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Imperial Biomedical Research Centre, the European Research Council and the Hungarian National Office for Research and Technology.

In cancers involving solid tumours, removal of the cancer in surgery is generally the best hope for treatment. The surgeon normally takes out the tumour with a margin of healthy tissue. However, it is often impossible to tell by sight which tissue is cancerous. One in five breast cancer patients who have surgery require a second operation to fully remove the cancer. In cases of uncertainty, the removed tissue is sent to a lab for examination while the patient remains under general anaesthetic." Read the full article here




iBRA-NET – No Innovation without Evaluation 

In October the first working meeting of the iBRA Network took place. 

59 surgeons have applied to be involved and each has been assigned to one of the four studies in development under the iBRANet banner.  The steering groups for each of these met in parallel session on October 29th to finalise protocols, and CRFs with a view to recruitment starting in the New Year.  An overarching steering group has also been set up which also had its first meeting on October 29th.

There is now a pathway for breast surgical studies from the ABS Innovation Group, to the Sandpit session and on to iBRANet for implementation.

The 4 studies currently in development are:

Pre-bra: CI:,

Phase II Cohort Study of pre-pectoral implant base breast reconstruction.

Map Bra: CI:

Phase II cohort study of a new mesh for implant reconstruction – Fortiva

3D-SI to assess aesthetic outcome after breast reconstruction: CI:

The design and assessment of objective 3d cosmetic assessment of breast reconstruction.

A National Audit of Magseed® localisation of breast lesions. CI

These studies will be opening to recruitment early in the New Year

If you would like to recruit to any of these studies please contact