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Crozer Health Among Few in Region to Use Robotic Bronchoscopy for Lung Cancer Diagnosis

Monarch Platform

Joseph Whitlark, M.D.A new innovation that holds promise to fight lung cancer is now in use at Crozer Health. Used to view the inside of the lungs and obtain a tissue sample for biopsy, the goal of Auris Health’s Monarch™ Platform is to enable earlier and more accurate diagnosis of small and hard-to-reach nodules in the periphery of the lung. Crozer Health has now put the Monarch to use at Delaware County Memorial Hospital in Drexel Hill, Pa., with thoracic surgeon Joseph D. Whitlark, M.D., at the helm.

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. Crozer Health is the first system in Delaware County to use the platform, which was recently cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Only one other health system in the Philadelphia five-county region uses the Monarch Platform, and no systems in Delaware or New Jersey use it.

"Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, in part because it has no symptoms in its early stages,” explained Dr. Whitlark. “Because the Monarch Platform provides improved reach, vision and control for bronchoscopic procedures, it holds potential to help us to make a diagnosis earlier. We are excited about the promise of this technology to offer a more hopeful future for our patients with lung cancer.”

More than 80 percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer do not survive the disease, in part because it is often found at an advanced stage, according to Auris Health. Early stage lung cancers can be cured with early detection, diagnosis and treatment. There are a variety of diagnostic options currently available for lung cancer, but all have limitations in accuracy, safety, or invasiveness. These limitations can lead to false positives, false negatives, or side effects such as pneumothorax (collapsed lung) and hemorrhage, which put patients at risk, may increase health care costs and extend hospital stays.

The Monarch Platform gives physicians an interface 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 Monarch Platform provides physicians with continuous bronchoscopic vision throughout the entire procedure.

“We at Crozer Health are excited to add the Monarch Platform to our roster of robotic capabilities,” said the health system’s CEO, Peter Adamo. “If diagnosing lung cancer as early as possible improves a patient’s chances of survival, then we want the best tools and the best doctors. Dr. Whitlark and the Monarch Platform are going to make a big difference in the Philadelphia region.”