CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Among First in U.S. to Use Innovative Technology for Lung Cancer Diagnosis Robotic Bronchoscopy Could Enable Earlier and More-Accurate Diagnosis of Lung Nodules August 21, 2019

Monarch Bronchoscopy

Tyler, Texas – A new innovation that holds promise to fight lung cancer is now in use at CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital - Tyler. Used to view the inside of the lungs and obtain a tissue sample for biopsy, the goal of Auris Health’s Monarch™ Robotic Bronchoscopy Platform is to enable earlier and more-accurate diagnosis of small and hard-to-reach nodules in the periphery of the lung. This new robotic technology will soon make treatment of early-stage lung cancer possible.

“Northeast Texas has higher rates of smoking, COPD and lung cancer than most other parts of the country, so it is critically important that we invest in treatment and technology that will combat the health crisis facing this region,” said James Caccitolo, M.D., Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery, CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic.

The technology integrates the latest advancements in robotics, software, data science, and endoscopy (the use of small cameras and tools to enter the body through its natural openings). The CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital - Tyler is among the first hospitals in the United States to utilize the platform, which was recently cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, in part because it has minimal or no symptoms in its early stages. Because the Monarch™ Platform provides improved reach, vision and control for bronchoscopic procedures, it holds potential to help us make a diagnosis earlier – and that means saving lives,” Suman Sinha, M.D., Chief of Pulmonary Medicine, director of the Lung Nodule Program, and leader of the Monarch™ program at CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic. “We are excited about the promise of this technology to offer a more hopeful future for our patients with lung cancer.”

Around 85-percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer do not survive the disease beyond 5 years, 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. These limitations can lead to false positives results, false negatives results, or side effects such as pneumothorax (collapsed lung) and hemorrhage. This leads discomfort, increased health care costs and extended hospital stays for patients.

“Bringing this technology to CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System and to our patients here is truly an amazing step for medicine in Northeast Texas,” said Fadi Nasrallah, M.D., MBA, Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer of CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System. “Additionally, it represents the very best of what we aim to do every day for our patients: joining compassion and expertise to benefit those who require treatment. It is a wonderful example of our vision to be a leader, a partner and an advocate in the creation of innovative health and wellness solutions that improve the lives of individuals and communities so that all may experience God's healing presence and love.”

The Monarch™ Platform utilizes a familiar controller-like interface that physicians use to navigate the flexible robotic endoscope to the periphery of the lung with improved reach, vision, and control. 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 complexity of the lifesaving procedures we can perform using our Monarch™ Robotic Bronchoscope is truly outstanding,” said Jason Proctor, MBA, Chief Executive Officer of CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospitals - Jacksonville, South Tyler and Tyler. “It is not simply important that we have added this new piece of equipment. What is most important is what we can do for our patients with it. By being the first in this region and among the leaders in Texas to offer this technology, we can expand access to necessary and lifesaving procedures for our patients, their families, and this community. That’s really what our mission is all about: extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.”