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El Camino Health's Interventional Pulmonology Program Advances Diagnostics and Treatment of Lung Cancer with Robotic-Assisted Systems

Innovative techniques highlighted in new study find improved precision and accuracy for lung nodule biopsies using the Ion™ Endoluminal Robotic Bronchoscopy System

Mountain View, Calif. — March 18, 2021 — El Camino Health continues to advance medicine in diagnosing and treating lung cancer and other conditions through new innovations led by Ganesh Krishna, MD, medical director of El Camino Health's interventional pulmonology program. Dr. Krishna's new study published in Lung details using robotic-assisted navigation bronchoscopy (RANB) combined with cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) to access and assess lung growths or nodules. The study concluded that use of this novel and minimally invasive approach results in more accurate diagnoses for cancerous growths and allows for easier access to nodules in previously hard-to-reach areas of the lungs. Most cancers diagnosed with this technology in this study were early stage cancers.

"For the past 15 years, I've worked to find more sophisticated, noninvasive methods that can speed the process of diagnosing and treating lung cancer," said Dr. Krishna. "Yet again, the way we approach lung cancer is evolving before our eyes. The use of robotic technologies offers a clear path to catch malignant growths sooner and with more precision in order to improve outcomes and cancer survival rates for our patients."

RANB is a minimally invasive approach that leverages The Ion™ Endoluminal Robotic Bronchoscopy System by Intuitive to reach the outer areas of the lungs for biopsies, where 70 percent of nodules are found, but which are often extremely difficult to access safely. Intuitive's technology, which is ultra-thin and highly maneuverable, provides a crucial tool for achieving unprecedented precision for biopsy procedures. Previous methods have been suboptimal in comparison and not consistently accurate, often requiring more than one procedure to confirm a diagnosis. But RANB, combined with CBCT for secondary confirmation, allows doctors to arrive at an accurate diagnosis with only one procedure, and patients are sent home the same day.

In the study, Dr. Krishna used this approach on 52 consecutive patients to access and biopsy a total of 59 lung nodules. It is the first paper to be published in the U.S., and the first in the world, to cover the Ion robotic device and associated results since its 2019 approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

El Camino Health's interventional pulmonology program is one of the leading programs of its kind on the West Coast, and, in 2019, it became the first in the world to perform a robotic lung nodule biopsy commercially. El Camino Health is also a regional leader in robotic-assisted surgeries, with its team having completed more than 10,000 procedures since 2006.

El Camino Health is currently conducting several pulmonology-related clinical trials through its Taft Center for Clinical Research. For more information click here.


About El Camino Health

El Camino Health provides a personalized healthcare experience at two non-profit acute care hospitals in Los Gatos and Mountain View and at primary care, multi-specialty care, and urgent care locations across Santa Clara County. For nearly sixty years, the organization has grown to meet the needs of individuals and communities it serves. Bringing together the best in new technology and advanced medicine, the network of nationally recognized physicians and care teams deliver high-quality, compassionate care. Key medical specialties include heart and vascular, cancer and lifestyle medicine. The hospitals have earned numerous awards for clinical excellence, such as a 5-Star Overall Hospital Quality Rating from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and nursing care, including four consecutive American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet Recognitions for Nursing Care. Visit to learn more.