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Samaritan Among First in U.S. to Use Innovative Lung Cancer Diagnosis Technology

Published on: November 17, 2020

Robotic Bronchoscopy Could Enable Earlier and More-Accurate Diagnosis of Lung Nodules

Watertown, NY – A new innovation that holds promise to fight lung cancer is now in use at Samaritan Medical Center. Used to view the inside of the lungs and obtain a tissue sample for biopsy, Auris Health’s Monarch™ Platform aims to enable an earlier and more-accurate diagnosis of small and hard-to-reach nodules in the periphery of the lung.

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). Samaritan is the first hospital in Central New York and the North Country to invest in this new technology and one of only two sites in the entire state to utilize the platform, which was recently cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Samaritan made the strategic decision in 2019 to purchase this important equipment and complement its pulmonology and oncology services. Illness and death due to lung cancer is staggeringly high across our tri-county region. The lung and bronchus cancer rate in Jefferson County alone is 91 incidences per 100,000 persons – 50% higher than the New York State average of 60, according to National Cancer Center Institute statistics. Jefferson County’s death rate due to lung cancer is 54 per 100,000 population, compared to the state’s average of 37. Rates in St. Lawrence and Lewis counties also are well above statewide averages. This data is provided by the National Cancer Center Institute.

From left: Dr. Vivian Keenan, Dr. David Rechlin, Dr. Rory Sears, and Dr. Lawrence Kramer pose with Samaritan’s new Monarch Robotic Bronchoscopy Platform.

“Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, in part because it has 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 to make a diagnosis earlier,” said Dr. David P. Rechlin, Pulmonology & Critical Care Physician at Samaritan. “We are excited about the promise of this technology to offer a more hopeful future for our patients with lung cancer.”

Since lung cancer is often found at an advanced stage, more than 90 percent of people diagnosed with the disease do not survive it. 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, false negatives, or side effects such as pneumothorax (collapsed lung) and hemorrhage, which may increase health care costs and extend hospital stays.

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.

To learn more about Samaritan Pulmonology or to see a video about the Auris Monarch Platform, visit