UPMC Debuts Device to Detect Lung Cancer Early

November 26, 2019
More than 90 percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer do not survive, in part because the disease is often found at an advanced stage. UPMC Passavant in McCandless today introduced new technology that will enable earlier and more accurate diagnosis of this deadly disease. 

The Auris Health Monarch™ Platform is a new robotic system that utilizes a minimally invasive endoscope to view deep inside the hard-to-reach small nodules in the periphery of the lungs, to obtain a tissue sample for biopsy. 

UPMC was the first ever health system to use this new platform following FDA approval last year at UPMC Hamot in Erie. Today, UPMC Passavant is the first hospital in the Pittsburgh area and now among just 31 health systems in the world to offer this technology to patients.  

“Lung cancer is the number one killer of both men and women in the world,” said Ryan Levy MD, chief of thoracic surgery at UPMC Passavant. “The lungs complex structures make tissue biopsy, needed for early detection, extremely difficult and current diagnostic options can often produce false or limited results.” 

The Monarch technology integrates the latest advancements in robotics, software, data science and endoscopy, or the use of small cameras and tools to enter the body through the patient’s mouth. 

“This new system will improve our reach, vision and control through a flexible bronchoscope so we can get far into the lungs and more easily obtain the necessary tissue samples for an accurate biopsy,” said Peter Kochupura, MD, UPMC pulmonologist. “We believe this will not only increase chances of survival but will do so without unnecessary invasive diagnostic procedures.”
 
Kochupura said the device uses a familiar video game style controller to navigate the flexible robotic endoscope to the periphery of the lung. “Combining traditional endoscopic views into the lung with computer-assisted navigation, the robot provides us with continuous bronchoscope vision throughout the entire procedure.”

“We are excited to use this technology to offer a more hopeful future for our patients with lung cancer,” said Susan Hoolahan, UPMC Passavant president. “This is another example of UPMC leading the way with the most innovative technology that the health care industry offers, and we are proud to have this system at UPMC Passavant.”