SMH Robots to Bring Gift of Life to Cancer Patients

Health

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY MONDAY BUSINESS EDITION MONDAY DEC 24, 2018

Medical professionals at Sarasota Memorial Hospital got to open one package a few days before Christmas this year. A new robot inside could save lung cancer patients in the region. 

The robot, part of Auris Health’s Monarch Platform, will help surgeons find and treat cancer through safer means, according to Dr. Joseph Seaman, medical director of SMH’s lung cancer screening program. The new technology allows him and his team to provide better bronchoscopies for patients.

“Having a robot takes the human error out from the movement in hands back and forth in the body,” he says. “It really enhances accuracy, and moreover, it’s a petter piece of equipment than we are currently using.”

The equipment replaces a system in use at SMH for 10 years with a new system just approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Monarch Platform integrates the latest advances in flexible robotics, 3-D software, data science and endoscopy to create models of individuals patients lungs. This is turn will allow better surgical removal of lung modules and masses, and should improve both diagnosis and treatment.

Auris says the platform in clinical studies helped physicians obtain peripheral biopsy samples without any adverse events in 93 percent of patients.

That’s especially critical when treating lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Lung cancer remains one of the most difficult to treat because malignant nodules can be difficult to safely find.

Seaman hopes the new tech will lead to more lung cancer patients from this area being treated at SMH. There are between 1,750 and 1,800 people diagnosed with lung cancer in the hospital’s coverage area each year, he says, but only about 300 pass through SMH. Many leave town for treatment.

But the hospital will now be among the first in the nation to offer this new treatment. Besides the four hospitals that hosted clinical trials, SMH will be among nine hospitals introducing the tech to the marketplace in 2019. In Florida, the platform will only be available in Sarasota and Orlando.

Photo Courtesy SMH: Interventional Pulmonologist Dr. Joseph Seaman, Respiratory Therapist Wendy LaChaunce, and Thoracic Surgeon Dr. Paul Chomiak.

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