John Muir Health Among First in U.S. to Use Innovative Technology for Lung Cancer Diagnosis

FDA-Approved Robotic-Assisted Bronchoscopy Could Enable Earlier and More-Accurate Diagnosis of Lung Nodules

Concord, Calif. (October 14, 2020) – During these challenging times, we are committed to providing our patients with not only safe and quality care, but also the latest technology to identify disease earlier and improve their health. The newest innovation to come to John Muir Health holds the promise of helping to fight lung cancer. The Auris Health’s Monarch™ Platform enables earlier and more-accurate diagnosis of small and hard-to-reach nodules in the periphery of the lung.

John Muir Health 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). The technology, which is used to view the inside of the lungs and obtain a tissue sample for biopsy, 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).

“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 Wilson Tsai, MD, Co-Medical Director, John Muir Health Thoracic Program. “We are excited about the promise of this technology to offer a more hopeful future for our patients with lung cancer.”

According to the American Cancer Society, if lung cancer is found at an earlier stage, when it is small and before it has spread, it is more likely to be successfully treated. Unfortunately, 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.

This new technology 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 robotic-assisted bronchoscopy using the Monarch™ Platform.

Lung cancer symptoms are more likely to be caused by something other than lung cancer according to the American Cancer Society. However, if you have any of the most common symptoms below, it’s important to see your doctor right away so the cause can be found and treated, if needed.

  • A cough that does not go away or gets worse
  • Coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum (spit or phlegm)
  • Chest pain that is often worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing
  • Hoarseness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that don’t go away or keep coming back
  • New onset of wheezing

“While we know some patients may be afraid of contracting COVID-19, we don’t want patients to delay necessary care and come to us when a situation, such as lung cancer, which could have been identified earlier with this new technology, is now a much more complicated or advanced illness,” said Dr. Tsai. “The health and safety of our patients and our John Muir Health team is our top priority. No matter what illness or injury we are treating, we have all the necessary precautions in place to make our hospitals as safe as possible.”

About John Muir Health
John Muir Health is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit health care organization east of San Francisco serving patients in Contra Costa, eastern Alameda and southern Solano Counties. It includes a network of more than 1,000 primary care and specialty physicians, 6,000 employees, medical centers in Concord and Walnut Creek, including Contra Costa County’s only trauma center, and a Behavioral Health Center. John Muir Health also has partnerships with UCSF Health, Tenet Healthcare/San Ramon Regional Medical Center and Stanford Children’s Health. The health system offers a full-range of medical services, including primary care, outpatient and imaging services, and is widely recognized as a leader in many specialties – neurosciences, orthopedic, cancer, cardiovascular, trauma, emergency, pediatrics and high-risk obstetrics care. 
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John Muir Health Media Contact:
Ben Drew
(925) 947-5387
[email protected]