First for Europe in lung cancer diagnosis

13 Nov 2015

Barts Charity has helped to fund innovative 3D lung navigation bronchoscopy software to detect and diagnose lung cancer. It's the first of its kind in Europe. 

The new technology, at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, aims to help thousands of patients through early detection of lung cancer, which is typically difficult to spot in its early stages due to few or no symptoms. But when detected early, treatment can increase long-term survival rates.

Lung cancer causes 35,000 deaths in the UK, and currently patients tend to be diagnosed at an advanced – and often non-curable – disease stage.

Kelvin Lau is a consultant and lead thoracic surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust, and is the first healthcare professional in Europe to use the innovative new software. He said: “St. Bartholomew’s is committed to earlier diagnosis and improving lung cancer outcomes. This cutting-edge technology was a gift to the hospital from Barts Charity and we are proud to offer this service.

“The procedure is safe, effective, minimally invasive and painless; it’s also scar-less – a big step forward. Identifying patients at an early stage could bring a dramatic change in the societal outcome of lung cancer.”

The software helps with access to hard-to-reach areas of the lung, which can aid in the diagnosis of lung cancer and therefore lead to earlier, personalised treatment – with the potential to save lives.

Computer analysis of patients’ detailed chest scans produces a 3D model of each lung’s unique airways, following which the doctor can use the roadmap to guide a probe through airways to within millimetres of a lesion, without cutting.

The new software was purchased with approval for funding of £118,000 from Barts Charity.

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