The University of Chicago Medicine (UChicago Medicine) in the US has deployed Noah Medical’s Galaxy robot system to perform bronchoscopies to enhance the early identification of lung cancer.

The first four cases have been successfully performed at the UChicago Medicine hospital using the new robotic technology.

During a bronchoscopy, a patient is placed under anaesthesia while a long tube with a small camera (scope) is guided through the mouth.

A handheld device, resembling a video game controller, is used by the physician to guide the scope through the lungs.

According to UChicago Medicine pulmonologist Dr Kyle Hogarth, the robot allows the scope to reach potentially cancerous lung nodules and lesions in difficult -to-reach places with significantly enhanced precision and accuracy compared to the current, first-generation robotic scopes.

Hogarth further said: “Even with the first-generation robotic scopes, bronchoscopists might miss a nodule. Now I know exactly where to put that biopsy needle and I get confirmation from the system that the needle is in the right place.

“This will be helpful to anyone with an abnormal CT scan to determine what’s wrong and what we can do next. If a biopsy is needed, we’ll make sure it’s done correctly.”

In March this year, Noah Medical secured approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Galaxy system.

The system is designed to offer bronchoscopic visualisation of and access to patient airways to conduct diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

Galaxy robot is integrated with an X-ray-enhanced nodule-targeting system.

The device deploys a disposable, single-use, bronchoscope to reduce the risk of infection or disease transmission.