UPMC Hamot First to Detect Lung Cancer with Robots

ERIE, Pa. – Because long cancer is often detected at an advanced stage, more than 90% of people diagnosed with the disease do not survive. But new technology is helping UPMC Hamot to detect lung cancer earlier.

Auris Health Inc.’s new Monarch Platform is  robotic system that uses a minimally invasive endoscope to see inside the lungs and obtain a tissue sample for biopsy. This allows for earlier, more accurate diagnosis of small and hard-to-reach nodules in the periphery of the lung, according to a statement from UPMC Hamot.

The system uses the latest in robotics, software, data science and endoscopy – the use of small cameras and tools to enter the body through natural openings. UPMC Hamot is the first hospital in the United States to use the Monarch Platform, which was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, in part because it has no symptoms in its early stages. This system holds potential to help us make a diagnosis earlier by providing improved reach, vision and control for bronchoscopic procedures,” said Stephen Kovacs, D.O., co-director, UPMC Hamot Comprehensive Lung Center. “Earlier diagnosis with this least invasive approach aims to increase chances of survival and reduce unnecessary invasive diagnostic procedures.”

Existing diagnostic options for lung cancer are limited in accuracy, safety or invasiveness, UPMC stated, which can lead to false positives, false negatives, or side effects like pneumothorax (collapsed lung) and hemorrhage. These can lead to increased health-care costs and extended hospital stays.

Investment in the Monarch Platform was made possible through the Rose K. Curtze Fund at Hamot Health Foundation, said David Gibbons, UPMC Hamot president.

“We are excited to use this technology to offer a more hopeful future for our patients with lung cancer,” Gibbons said. “This is another example of UPMC Hamot leading the way with the most innovative technology that the health care industry offers, and we are proud to welcome physicians from all over the country as they observe and receive training from Dr. Kovacs and his team.”

Click here to see video footage of the Monarch Platform in action.

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