A Look Deep Inside The Lungs

Advanced technology allows for earlier diagnosis of lung cancer.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. More than 90 percent of people diagnosed with it don’t survive because the disease isn’t found until it’s at an advanced stage.

At Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center (CBMC), new robotic bronchoscopy technology known as the Monarch Platform is offering physicians an unprecedented view of the inside of the lungs, as well as the ability to obtain tissue samples for biopsy from hard-to-reach nodules.

“Because the Monarch Platform provides improved reach, vision and control for bronchoscopic procedures, it holds the potential to help us to make a diagnosis earlier,” says Killol Patel, MD, Medical Director of the Lung Nodule Program and Director of Interventional Pulmonology at CBMC and a member of RWJBarnabas Health Medical Group. “We are excited about the promise of this technology to offer a more hopeful future for our patients with lung cancer.”

In Search of a Nodule

During a bronchoscopy procedure, a thin, flexible tube is passed through the nose or mouth and down the throat in order to give the doctor a view of a patient’s lungs and air passages. Because lung nodules are small and tend to be located deep within the lung, they can be hard to see during traditional bronchoscopy.

The Monarch Platform enables a physician to use robotic technology, manipulating a controller to “drive” a bronchoscope deep within the lungs and into the small branches of the bronchial tree. An integrated camera on the bronchoscope allows the doctor a crisp, 3D view of the patient’s lung anatomy. When a nodule is reached, the flexible bronchoscope can be “parked” and remain stable while the doctor performs any needed interventions.

In addition to the Monarch Platform, CBMC has an Incidental Lung Nodule Program to catch lung cancer in its earliest stages. If a lung nodule is picked up during any CT scan at CBMC or the Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center, a software system will alert the lung nodule team. A letter will be sent to both the ordering provider and the patient, offering an opportunity to follow up at the Lung Nodule Clinic.

Says Dr. Patel, “With early detection, we have a better opportunity of curing this disease.”

What is a lung nodule?

  • A small abnormal growth that forms in the lung.
  • Often found as part of a CT screening of the chest.
  • Usually benign, resulting from old infections, scar tissue or other causes.
  • Will be checked via repeat scan to see if it’s growing, which could be a sign of cancer.

RWJBarnabas Health and the Cancer Center at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center, together with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey—the state’s only NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center—provide close-to-home access to the latest treatment options.

Learn more about lung cancer diagnosis and treatment at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center.