TACTILE feedback technology could give keyhole surgeons a virtual sense of feeling tumours while operating. A Leeds University study has combined computer virtualisation with a device that simulates pressure on a surgeons hand when touching human tissue remotely. This could enable a medic to handle a tumour robotically, and judge if it is malignant or benign. Cancer specialists hope the new system will help to improve future treatment. In current keyhole procedures, a surgeon operates through a tiny incision in the patients body, guided only by video images. Using keyhole techniques, as opposed to major invasive surgery, helps improve healing and patient recovery. However, surgeons cant feel the tissue they are operating on - something which might help them to find and categorise tumours. However, Dr Hewson believes the work is still a long way from full medical use. There are a lot of technical challenges to overcome before this can be integrated into surgical devices. BBC