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Flexible Robotics Platform Advances Bronchoscopy

By Medimaging International staff writers
Posted on 04 Apr 2018
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Image: An advanced bronchoscopy robotic platform helps diagnose lung cancer (Photo courtesy of Auris Health).
Image: An advanced bronchoscopy robotic platform helps diagnose lung cancer (Photo courtesy of Auris Health).
A revolutionary flexible endoscopic technology with multiple degrees of freedom allows physicians to diagnose hard-to-reach, small peripheral lung nodules with high precision.

The Auris Health (Redwood City, CA; USA) Monarch Platform is designed to provide visualization of the bronchial tree during bronchoscopic procedures. The system consists of four major components - the patient side system (PSS), a controller cart, a master device workstation used by the surgeon, and the bronchoscope and accessories. The system is based on a master/slave model, with a controller-like interface used to navigate the flexible robotic endoscope to the periphery of the lung with improved reach, vision, and control.

The PSS includes the robot cart, two robotic arms with six degrees of freedom, and an instrument drive mechanism (IDM) with four actuated axes. The robotic arms are used to steer the flexible bronchoscope attached at the end effector of the robotic arm, which includes the camera and a working channel for irrigation and aspiration. The PSS also holds the servo drives box, the endoscope camera control box, power and illumination controllers, and all cabling between the IDM and the robot cart. The Controller Cart houses the electronic systems required to power and operate the robotic systems.

“Technology has advanced significantly since the development of the earliest robotics platforms used in medicine. The Monarch Platform is designed to address the limitations of current technology with the introduction of a new era of flexible robotics,” said Frederic Moll, MD, founder and CEO of Auris Health. “We intend to deliver on the promise of improving patient care, starting with earlier and more accurate diagnosis of pulmonary nodules. We envision additional uses for the technology across future endoscopic clinical indications.”

“Four hundred fifty people die every day in the United States due to lung cancer. It is the number one cancer killer of both men and women in the world. Lung cancer screening has given us an opportunity to save some of these people by diagnosing the cancer early, while we have a chance to cure it,” said Michael Simoff, MD, director of interventional pulmonology at Henry Ford Health System (Detroit, MI, USA). “The development of new advanced technology, like the Monarch Platform, could allow us the opportunity to make the diagnosis early, which translates directly to saving lives.”

More patients die every year from lung cancer than from prostate, breast, and colon cancers combined. More than 90% of people diagnosed with lung cancer do not survive, 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, which can lead to false positives, false negatives, or side effects such as pneumothorax (collapsed lung) and hemorrhage.

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