Robotic bronchoscopy, a new innovation that holds promise to fight lung cancer is now in use at UofL Health – Jewish Hospital. The Monarch™ Platform enables earlier and more-accurate diagnosis of small and hard-to-reach nodules in the periphery of the lung. Earlier diagnosis often increases lung cancer treatment options.

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths in Kentucky, and the state leads nation for number of cases (compared to the population). Historically lung cancer is difficult to catch early, in part because it has no symptoms in its early stages.

“Early detection and diagnosis of lung cancer is critical to improving survival,” said Matthew Black, M.D., cardiothoracic surgeon with UofL Physicians. “The Monarch Platform leverages the advantage of robotics. With improved reach, vision and control this technology gives us greater access areas of the lung previously deemed unreachable by conventional methods. It improves our diagnostic abilities and shortens the window between nodule discovery and treatment.”

The Monarch Platform integrates the latest advancements in flexible robotics, software, data science, and minimally invasive endoscopy. By 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.

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.

“Jewish Hospital is proud to make this advanced diagnostic technology available,” said John Walsh, CAO of UofL Health – Jewish Hospital. “Early cancer detection increases treatment options and ultimately saves lives. This is an investment in the health of all Kentuckians and the entire region.”

In the coming months, Drs. Matthew Black, Matthew Fox and Dr. Victor van Berkel, all cardiothoracic surgeons at Jewish Hospital and part of the multidisciplinary lung cancer team at UofL Health – Brown Cancer Center, will be offering this option to patients.

The Monarch Platform is one component of a $6 million investment into robotics and surgical upgrades at Jewish Hospital announced in November.