Advancement in Technology Could Lead to Better Outcomes
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, partly because it has no symptoms in its early stages. If a lung nodule is detected through imaging, it is often monitored over time rather than tested immediately because of the invasive nature of lung tissue biopsy.
Now, innovative robotic technology is making it easier to test lung nodules for possible cancer at an earlier stage.
Lung Nodules and the Importance of Early Detection
Lung nodules are small masses of tissue in the lung that appear as round, white spots on a chest X-ray or computed tomography (CT) scan. And although they are common and often benign, they can also indicate cancer.
“When a spot on the lung is detected via imaging, patients want to know as quickly as possible if it is serious and what the next steps are,” says Benjamin J. Seides, MD, MPH, director of Interventional Pulmonology at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital. Now innovative robotic technology in use at Central DuPage Hospital is bringing those answers more quickly.
Integrating the latest advancements in robotics, software, data science and endoscopy, the Auris Health Monarch™ Platform allows minimally invasive access deep inside the lungs to obtain a tissue sample for biopsy.
“This is a significant new piece of technology that will change the landscape of lung cancer diagnosis and treatment,” says Dr. Seides. “Robotic-assisted bronchoscopy allows us to view and take sample tissue from areas in the lung that previously were only accessible via more invasive methods.” Early detection of cancer allows for more treatment options and has been shown to improve patient outcomes.
The Latest Technology for Lung Tissue Biopsy
The Monarch Platform uses a controller-like interface that allows physicians to navigate the flexible robotic endoscope through the nose or mouth and into the outer edges of the lung, allowing improved reach, vision and control. Combining traditional endoscopic views with computer-assisted navigation based on 3-D models of the patient’s own lung, the technology allows physicians to see inside the lungs throughout the entire procedure. The scope is then used to obtain a small sample of lung tissue for biopsy.
“Our goal is to obtain as much diagnostic information as possible in one procedure. For many patients, this technology helps reduce waiting time for diagnosis and treatment,” says Dr. Seides.
“With robotic technology, we can quickly biopsy difficult-to-reach lung nodules to determine whether the nodule is cancerous, while also obtaining staging information, frequently on the same day as the procedure,” says Dr. Seides.
Learn more about your risk for lung cancer.