MAY 17, 2010, NEW ORLEANS, LA ?Broncus Technologies, Inc., a medical device company focused on developing minimally-invasive innovations for lung diseases, announced today at the American Thoracic Society 2010 International Conference the availability of its LungPoint system version 2.1. The bronchoscopic navigation system is featured in three poster presentations at the meeting. These highlight the clinical benefits of using the LungPoint software to guide the biopsy of lymph nodes and peripheral lesions ? both key to the diagnosis and staging of lung cancer.
Two posters presented on Sunday featured LungPoint use at a community hospital (John C Lincoln, Phoenix, AZ) and at Thoraxklinik in Heidelberg, Germany, known as one of the most advanced pulmonary centers in the world. In both case studies LungPoint guided pulmonologists to successful biopsy of lymph nodes. When lymph nodes that are not diagnosed bronchoscopically the patient must undergo surgery. At John C Lincoln Hospital LungPoint was also beneficial for the sampling of peripheral nodules. A third poster on the use of LungPoint at Thoraxklinik for accessing peripheral lung nodules will be presented on Wednesday.
LungPoint helps bronchoscopists successfully navigate the lung airways and enables the patient to avoid more invasive procedures. The cutting-edge technology allows for pre-procedure mapping and visual guidance during bronchoscopy and helps physicians get to lung tissue that would have previously only been reachable through the chest wall or surgically.
UC Davis Medical Center is currently using the LungPoint System. "This is an exciting technology because it allows us to expand the use of bronchoscopy for diagnosing and treating lung cancers," explained pulmonologist Ken Yoneda, MD at UC Davis Medical Center. "The traditional biopsy plan involved more invasive or surgical procedures that sometimes required hospitalization and general anesthetic for patients just to get a diagnosis. Patients sometimes opted out of doing this and took a 'watch and wait' approach potentially missing an opportunity to catch cancer at an early stage."
Similar to navigation systems used when driving, the LungPoint system allows physicians to select destinations and see the best routes to get there. With this application the "destination" is a suspicious spot in the lung and the "streets" are the lung airways. Once the best possible route is selected, the LungPoint system presents an animation of what the journey through the airways will look like, providing physicians with a full visual guide to the biopsy destination.
The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania has also been using the LungPoint System. "The software brings better care to our patients because it allows us to shorten the amount of time it takes us to get to a lesion in the lung and complete a biopsy procedure," states Colin Gillespie, MD, pulmonologist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. "Previously we may have spent time looking around the airway with a bronchoscope trying to find a lesion. Now, using this system, we can plan our path ahead of time and then have a real-time visual guide during the procedure. It takes the guess work out and lets us quickly reach our intended target."
Version 2.1 of the LungPoint System includes improvements that respond to customer feedback and make the system easier to use. The addition of airway measurement tools could help bronchoscopists better plan for a range of procedures. Enhanced distance measurements provide detailed insight into the intended biopsy target.
"The LungPoint system is intuitive and improvements in the new version make the navigation even more straightforward than before," states Dr. Yoneda. "One of the biggest advantages is the increased visual guidance. When we can see exactly where the bronchoscope is located, we can more easily biopsy lesions that would not normally be accessible by standard bronchoscopy. This is significant because it translates into earlier diagnosis and treatment for cancer patients."
More about the LungPoint System
Pulmonologists use bronchoscopes every day to examine and perform medical procedures in a patient's lungs. The LungPoint Planning and Virtual Bronchoscopic Navigation systems are used to plan and guide bronchoscopic procedures such as lung biopsies and fiducial marker placement. The software gives the physician tools to look at the lungs and airways in three dimensions, resulting in more effective treatment planning and execution. During bronchoscopy, the planned virtual path is compared to the live bronchoscope video images, indicating to the physician the correct airway to follow for optimal biopsy accuracy.