New Innovation Holds Promise in Fighting Lung Cancer
March 13, 2022
Christine Ash struggled with recurring lung cancer for nearly 20 years. In July of 2021, at the age of 71, her doctor identified another concerning spot in her lung. It was in a tricky place that would traditionally be hard or impossible to reach for a biopsy, and sometimes, when a sample is obtained from a difficult area, the results are inconclusive.
“The earlier they can catch it, the better you are. I appreciate anything to try to improve the odds. It makes a huge difference for patients,” she said.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, in part because it has no symptoms in its early stages. A new innovation that holds promise to fight lung cancer is in use at University Hospitals (UH) Cleveland Medical Center. UH is among the first hospitals in the United States to utilize Auris Health’s Monarch™ Platform.
Benjamin Young, MD, is Medical Director of Bronchoscopy at UH Cleveland Medical Center. “This technology is really exciting, and a giant step forward in bronchoscope design. Monarch allows us to reach smaller peripheral lung nodules that are now generally not accessible with current techniques and technology,” he said.
Christine had received inconclusive results from biopsies in the past.
“I absolutely thought maybe this new technology will help me. It makes it easier, faster. He’s able to get into tighter places. I thought, maybe this time when he goes to take a sample, they’ll get something they can test as opposed to being inconclusive. You go through all that and to hear that the sample is inconclusive is a big letdown.”
Using Auris Health’s Monarch™ Platform, Dr. Young retrieved enough tissue from Christine’s lung for a biopsy which showed the spot was malignant or cancerous. Christine then underwent targeted radiation to treat the spot.
The Monarch Platform integrates the latest advancements in robotics, software, data science, and endoscopy (the use of small cameras and tools to enter the body through its natural openings). Physicians use the flexible robotic endoscope to navigate to the periphery of the lung with improved reach, vision, and control. Combining traditional endoscopic views into the lung with computer-assisted navigation based on 3-D models of the patient’s own lung anatomy, the Monarch Platform provides physicians with continuous bronchoscope vision throughout the entire procedure.
“Compared to the current technology, robotic bronchoscopy doubles – maybe even triples – our ability to successfully sample smaller lesions; those we might not even try for now,” said Dr. Young. “With robotic bronchoscopy, we can more accurately evaluate incidental findings, sparing patients from further imaging or additional procedures and relieving them of unnecessary doubt and anxiety.”
“I’m thankful the technology discovered the cancer and the radiation worked,” said Christine. “I can still breathe. When I wake up in the morning, I’m grateful for another day.”