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More innovations in the Early Diagnosis of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer kills 1.3 million people a year and is the leading cause of cancer death world wide. Nearly 220,000 men and women were diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States in 2009, with nearly 160,000 Americans dying from the disease. For years, researchers have been seeking a way to detect lung cancer at its early stages, when it is most treatable. Last year we reported on an electronic nose developed in Israel that used nanoparticles to sniff out organic compounds in lung cancer, facilitating early diagnosis. Now there is a another technique poised to change the way lung cancer is diagnosed and treated.

Super Dimension , a private company based in Israel, has developed a comprehensive, advanced lung navigation system called Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy (ENB). First developed in 2005, it is now used in over 275 hospitals worldwide, and has facilitated diagnosis in over 15,000 patients.

GPS-like technology is used to guide a catheter through the throat to biopsy lung lesions and lymph nodes, providing a three-dimensional ‘roadmap’ of the lungs that enables a physician to maneuver catheters through multiple branches of the bronchial tree. The physician can then use ENB to place radiosurgical markers in and around lung tumors to help radiation oncologists treat patients with external beam radiation in a recent article in the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery , titled, Coil Spring Fiducial Markers Placed Safely Using Navigation Bronchoscopy in Inoperable Patients allows Accurate Delivery of CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery, the authors described a technique to safely place markers using navigation bronchoscopy in inoperable patients which allows accurate delivery of CyberKnife stereotactic radiosurgery as a potentially curative option for medically inoperable Stage I lung cancer. Accurate marker placement in or near the tumor is vital, and Electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopy offered a better and safer method of doing so.

Electromagnetic navigation is poised to have an increasingly important role in the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer in the near future and may give us a way to better understand and better identify those who might have lung cancer earlier, and to treat the disease more effectively.

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