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TUH uses technology to diagnose lung cancer

The equipment is a less invasive method and has higher diagnosis accuracy.

New technology to diagnose lung cancer is being tested in clinical trials at Temple University Hospital.

The Archimedes System, developed by Broncus Medical Inc. “performs virtual bronchoscopic navigation,” which helps doctors reach possible tumors in hard-to-reach parts of the lung, said Dr. Gerard Criner, chair of the thoracic medicine and surgery department at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine. This technology allows for a more accurate diagnosis.

“It allows you to create an artificial path through the lung tissue,” Criner said. “It gives you navigation to go off-road or off-airway, and to avoid blood vessels.”

Patrick Massetti, manager of Sales and Clinical Operations at Broncus, is working directly with Criner and TUH to implement the technology.

Massetti said the system scans and then digitally recreates a model of a patient’s lungs.

Criner said the technology helps avoid procedures less likely to diagnose cancer and surgeries that could lead to more side effects or higher mortality rates.

One of the big differences between the Archimedes System and other methods is that the technology doesn’t require any chest incision, Massetti said.

Due to the complexity of other methods, namely a procedure called transthoracic needle aspiration, more time is needed to recover, and complications from the chest incision and interference from ribs are more likely than Archimedes, Massetti said.

The system is also able to gather larger samples than TTNA, Massetti said.

“With a bigger sample, [doctors] can do additional testing, and they can possibly find which medicine is best suited for that particular patient,” Massetti said. “The larger the sample you have, the better your testing capability is going to be.”

Previous forms of therapy would make a correct diagnosis about 67 to 71 percent of the time, while Criner said Archimedes is closer to 85 percent.

The trial is “phase IV,” which means that the technology has been FDA-approved and is commercially available, but the clinical value of the technology remains unproven, Criner said.

“Hospitals, before they purchase, want to see data to find out how much better, or how much safer this is than the current technology … so that is what Dr. Criner is participating in right now,” Massetti said.

TUH and other hospitals around the world provide feedback to Broncus regarding the system. Although the company was considering offering TUH a loaner system for the trial, TUH opted to buy it outright, allowing them to use the technology on patients outside of the study, Massetti said.

Massetti said purchasing the technology allows the hospital to treat anyone they think could benefit — not just the people included in the study.

“We work pretty closely with the company,” Criner said. “There are some refinements that we are asking them to put into the software that would make it more practical to use.”

“[The Archimedes System] affords the possibility in the future to not only diagnose, but treat a lesion without having to undergo other types of treatment,” Criner said.

Noah Tanen can be reached at noah.tanen@temple.edu.

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