Find out about our current, on-going, surgery research trials

Trial: 13SM1815 - REI-EXCISE - Real time tissue characterisation using mass spectrometry

Research area

Surgery - a wide variety of surgeries including brain, breast, gastrointestinal and gynaecological.


This trial will look at collecting data to show that a device called the iKnife can be used to tell surgeons immediately whether the tissue they are cutting is cancerous or not in real time.

Current methods used for identification of healthy and unhealthy tissue include sending samples to the laboratory for examination during the operation, or taking biopsies for analysis after the procedure.

The iKnife is based on electrosurgery, a technology invented in the 1920s that is commonly used today. Electrosurgical knives use an electrical current to rapidly heat tissue, cutting through it while minimising blood loss. In doing so, they vaporise the tissue, creating smoke that is normally sucked away by extraction systems.

This smoke is then passed through a machine (mass spectrometer) that analyses it. By measuring the weight of individual smoke particles the machine can determine what sort of tissue is being cut at the same time that the smoke is produced, instantly providing information that normally takes up to half an hour to reveal using laboratory tests.

The aim of the iKnife is help guide the surgeon to perform more precise operations and to reduce the number of patients requiring more surgery because of missed cancerous tissue.

Who can take part?

Patients undergoing surgery in brain, breast, gastrointestinal and gynaecological


Daniel Leff

Edward St John


Trial: 15HH3063 GAPS - Graduated compression as an Adjunct to Pharmacoprophylaxis in Surgery 

Research area



The aim of this study is to look at whether patients who wear elastic stockings as well as taking anticoagulant medication, which thin the blood so it cannot form harmful clots, have a lower chance of developing venous thromboembolism (VTE) than patients who take anticoagulant medications only.

VTE is the formation of blood clots in the veins. When a blood clot develops in a deep vein in one or both of the legs it is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). If a DVT is not treated then there is a risk that part of the blood clot could break off and become stuck in one of the lungs, blocking blood supply, this is known as pulmonary embolism (PE).
Together DVT and PE are known as VTE, which is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide.

Doctors have known about the risks of patients developing VTE after operations for many years and use two main ways to prevent this:

  • Thinning the blood with regular injections, and
  • Wearing elastic stockings to help stop blood sitting in the leg veins where it can clot.

Doctors are not sure if wearing elastic stockings on top of blood thinners reduces the risk of VTEs any more than if the blood thinners are given on their own. This study is being done to find out if this is true.

Participants in the trial will be randomly allocated to one of two groups:

1) elastic stockings plus blood thinner’ group or
2) the ‘blood thinner alone’ group

Participants attend follow up appointments after 1 and 2-3 weeks, as well as 90 days after surgery, to have their legs scanned to check for the presence of any blood clots.

Who can take part

Elective surgical inpatients over the age of 18 assessed as being at moderate or high risk of VTE. Exclusions apply.

Time commitment

Participants attend follow up appointments after 1 and 2-3 weeks, as well as 90 days after surgery, to have their legs scanned to check for the presence of any blood clots.


Please contact the research nurse Vernisha Ali at or call her on 0203 311 7304

Or email the Trial team at