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2021

Published on August 09, 2021

Billings Clinic among first in U.S. to use innovative technology for lung cancer diagnosis

Robotic bronchoscopy could enable earlier and more accurate diagnosis of lung nodules

A new innovation that holds promise to fight lung cancer is now in use at Billings Clinic. 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.

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). Billings Clinic is among the first hospitals in the United States to utilize the platform, which was recently cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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

More than 90 percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer do not survive the disease, in part because it is often found at an advanced stage. 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 may increase health care costs and extend hospital stays.

The Monarch Platform utilizes a familiar controller-like 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 3-D models of the patient’s own lung anatomy, the Monarch Platform provides physicians with continuous bronchoscope vision throughout the entire procedure.

Learn more about Monarch at Billings Clinic at www.billingsclinic.com/monarch. Patients interested in Monarch can schedule a meeting with their primary care provider for additional details or can contact our Monarch team at 406-435-LUNG (5864).

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