WHEELING – A new innovation showing promise to fight lung cancer is now in use at WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital.
Used to view the inside of the lungs and obtain a tissue sample for biopsy, the goal of robotic bronchoscopy technology is to enable earlier and more accurate diagnosis of small and hard-to-reach nodules in the periphery of the lung.
Robotic bronchoscopy technology integrates the latest advances in robotics, software, data science and endoscopy (the use of tiny cameras and tools to enter the body through the patient’s mouth). WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital is one of the first in the US to use the platform, which was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
“Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide, in part because it has no symptoms at an early stage. Because the MONARCH platform offers better range, better vision and better control for bronchoscopic procedures, it offers the opportunity to diagnose earlier.” Kareen Simon, the hospital’s vice president and chief operating officer, said. “We are excited about the promise of this technology to give our lung cancer patients a more hopeful future.”
More than 90% of people with lung cancer do not survive the disease, in part because it is often found in an advanced stage. Several diagnostic options are currently available for lung cancer, but all have limitations in accuracy, safety, or invasiveness.
These limitations can lead to false positives, false negatives, or side effects such as lung collapse and bleeding.
Auris Health’s MONARCH platform uses a familiar controller-like interface that clinicians use to navigate the flexible robotic endoscope to the periphery of the lung with enhanced range, vision and control. Combining traditional endoscopic views of the lungs with computer-aided navigation based on 3D models of the patient’s own lung anatomy, the technology provides physicians with continuous bronchoscope vision throughout the procedure.
The design uses a minimally invasive endoscope to look deep into the lungs. Robotic bronchoscopy provides a continuous, detailed 3D image of the airways of the lungs. With robotic technology, the doctor can use a controller to steer the probe, see exactly where it’s going and identify the best places to take biopsy samples.