New Technology Detects Lung Cancer Sooner, Safer

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

People with hard to reach lung lesions may be able to receive a diagnosis sooner and safer with advanced navigation technology now available at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

The inReach System, by superDimension, provides electromagnetic navigation and guidance to distant regions of the lungs in a minimally-invasive manner, enabling physicians to locate, test and plan treatment for lung lesions and lymph nodes that are difficult to access with traditional bronchoscopy. Sarasota Memorial is one of only four hospitals in Florida – and the only one on Florida's west coast – offering the new technology patients.


“We are pleased to be able to offer our patients a technology that extends the reach of standard bronchoscopes and potentially offer more conclusive diagnoses,” said Sarasota Memorial Pulmonologist Todd Horiuchi, MD. Similar to Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, the inReach System provides a three-dimensional virtual “roadmap” of the lungs, generated from CT images. Once the patient’s lungs have been mapped, physicians use guiding catheters with standard bronchoscopes to reach the targeted lesion.

“Because the system is minimally-invasive, it enables us to safely diagnose patients whose medical conditions don’t allow us to perform higher-risk surgical procedures” added Horiuchi.

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. By providing electromagnetic navigation, the inReach System increases the chances that a patient will safely get a diagnosis and begin treatment. And, not only does the technology allow access to lesions that the bronchoscope cannot reach, it also enables cancer staging in the lymph nodes.

Lung cancer is the most common cancer-related death in American men and the second most common in women, claiming more lives than breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer combined. According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2007 alone, more than 200,000 Americans were diagnosed with lung cancer, and only 16 percent will live another five years. Earlier diagnosis and treatment may increase the chance that patients live longer. The inReach System has the potential to help reduce the mortality rate for lung cancer by helping physicians diagnose and recommend treatment for the disease in its early stages.