The Center for Cancer Treatment and Prevention at Providence St. Joseph Hospital recently acquired the cutting edge ION System for Robotic Navigational Bronchoscopy – a tool that is critical in the early diagnosis of lung cancer. St. Joseph Hospital is one of approximately 30 cancer centers in the nation with this technology for the next year.
The new screening system eliminates the need for invasive needle biopsies of the lung which can be associated with pain and complications. The ION System is a robotic platform that can visualize and execute precise, minimally invasive biopsies in some of the most hard-to-reach areas of the lung where malignant cancers frequently begin.
According to John Maurice, MD, a thoracic oncologist at the Center for Cancer Treatment and Prevention, “This new robotic screening system will enable us to effectively diagnose our patients faster and more efficiently, allowing for better treatment options at St. Joseph Hospital.”
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survival rate for lung cancer is poor with less than 20 percent of patients surviving five years. Each year more people die of lung cancer than those with colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.
The low survival rate for lung cancer may be partially attributed to delays in diagnosis, which also means a delay in treatment. The ability to accurately diagnose and treat malignant growths as early as possible can often mean the difference between a terminal diagnosis and a full remission.
That is why the ION System’s robotic bronchial navigation represents a major advancement in the early diagnosis of lung cancer. ION’s PlanPoint software uses a patient’s CT scan to generate three dimensional digital airway trees. Clinicians can use these digital maps to precisely identify a target and draw a detailed path to reach it.
ION’s flexible robotic technology utilizes a specially designed endoscope (an illuminated, optical, slender tubular instrument used to probe well inside the body) to navigate deep into the human lung, in a safe and minimally - invasive manner. The endoscope features an ultra-thin, ultra-maneuverable catheter that can articulate 180 degrees in any direction and pass around tight turns, allowing it to reach all 18 segments of the lung. A special needle located inside the catheter maintains both flexibility and unprecedented stability as it moves through small and tightly bended airways, until it locks into position to perform the nodule biopsy. Utilizing the ION System’s integrated vision probe and fiber optic shape sensor, clinicians have real-time positioning and visuals of their patient’s airways at every step of the procedure, as they navigate the system to its target(s).
With the ION System, oncologists can diagnosis and then treat lung cancer patients at an early stage, without delay, in-house, without pain and with low complications and set them swiftly on the path to a full recovery.
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