Inspira Vineland among 1st to use new lung cancer diagnosis tool

Officials feel Monarch Platform, new robotic bronchoscopy, could enable earlier and more accurate diagnosis

As with any cancer, the earlier the discovery, the better the treatment options.

Inspira Medical Center Vineland feels it is taking a big step in that direction for lung cancer patients. The hospital is among the first in the country to use the recently approved Auris Health Monarch Platform to peer inside patients’ lungs and obtain tissue samples for biopsy.

Inspira Health officials said the new technology can help physicians make earlier and more-accurate diagnosis of small and hard-to-reach nodules in the periphery of the lung.

The technology 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).

Dr. Charles Shieh, the medical director of lung cancer at Inspira Health, said the platform can have real impact.

“Lung cancer survival rates improve significantly when cancer is caught at an early stage,” he said. “This new technology will help us make a diagnosis earlier and allow us to reach smaller, peripheral lung nodules that have been unreachable with other technologies.

“We are excited about the promise of this new technology to offer a more hopeful future for our patients with lung cancer.”

There are several existing diagnostic options currently available for lung cancer, but all have limitations that can lead to false positives, false negatives or side effects such as a collapsed lung or hemorrhage, Shieh said.

The Monarch Platform utilizes a familiar controller interface that physicians use to navigate the flexible robotic endoscope 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 3D models of the patient’s own lung anatomy, the technology provides physicians with continuous vision of the area in question throughout the entire procedure.