SMH Deploys New Robot to Target Hard-to-reach Lung Cancer

SMH Deploys New Robot to Target Hard-to-reach Lung Cancer

Thursday, December 20, 2018

SARASOTA (Dec. 20, 2018) — Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, partly because potentially malignant nodules can be difficult and dangerous to detect and diagnose in the farthest reaches of the lungs.

A new robot that arrived at Sarasota Memorial this week aims to change that. The robot is part of Auris Health’s Monarch™ Platform – recently cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The system includes a flexible robotic endoscope that doctors use to navigate and search the delicate, distant branches of the lung and obtain tissue samples from hard-to-reach nodules for biopsy. 

monarch reachSarasota Memorial is among just 10 hospitals in the United States slated to deploy the system in 2019 in an effort to diagnose lung cancer at earlier, more treatable stages. 

This technology provides improved reach, vision and control for bronchoscopic procedures, so that we can diagnose, and eventually treat, small, peripheral nodules with greater precision than ever before,” said interventional pulmonologist Joseph Seaman, MD, and thoracic surgeon Paul Chomiak, MD, who are leading Sarasota Memorial’s lung cancer team and plan to begin using the new system on select patients in late January. 

monarch control“Currently, patients experiencing symptoms of lung disease or those who have suspected lesions can be examined and treated with standard bronchoscopes, needle aspiration or surgery, but all of the traditional methods have limitations in accuracy, safety or invasiveness. Earlier diagnosis with the Monarch platform’s least invasive approach promises to increase chances of survival and reduce unnecessary invasive diagnostic procedures. According to Auris, clinical studies found that the Monarch Platform was able to help physicians obtain peripheral biopsy samples from 14 out of 15 patients (93%) under direct vision, with no serious adverse events.

The Monarch Platform integrates the latest advances in flexible robotics, software, data science and endoscopy (the use of scopes equipped with small cameras and tools that enter the body through its natural openings). 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. 

The advanced technology provides improved diagnostic and treatment techniques for lung cancer, one of the priority focus areas for the evolving Sarasota Memorial Cancer Institute. The health system’s comprehensive cancer program is expanding in January with premier facilities being built to house services across the entire continuum of cancer care — from prevention, screening and diagnosis to treatment, clinical trials, and lifetime follow-up, survivorship care and support. Construction is slated to begin on two new facilities in early 2019: an outpatient radiation oncology center that will open on the health system’s University Parkway/Honore campus in 2020 and an eight-story oncology tower slated to open on the hospital’s main campus in 2021. For the latest news on the Cancer Institute's progress, visit the “Cancer Institute Updates” webpage.

About Sarasota Memorial Health Care System 
Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is a regional referral center offering Southwest Florida’s greatest breadth and depth of care, with more than 900,000 patient visits each year. Its flagship 839-bed, acute-care hospital has been consistently recognized as one of the nation’s largest and best, with superior patient outcomes and a complete continuum of outpatient services – from urgent care, trauma and emergency services to laboratory and diagnostic imaging, home health, skilled nursing and rehabilitation. SMH is the only hospital in Florida to have consistently earned the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ highest five-star quality rating since the evaluation system launched in 2016. 

About Auris Health, Inc.
Auris Health is pioneering the next era of medical intervention by developing platforms that enhance physician capabilities, evolve minimally invasive techniques, and create new categories of care that redefine optimal patient outcomes. The company is committed to transforming medical intervention by integrating robotics, micro-instrumentation, endoscope design, sensing, and data science into one platform. Every element of our technology is driven by patient-specific design aimed at maintaining the integrity of the human body. Learn more at