Veran technology added to lung cancer treatment

Veran technology added to lung cancer treatment arsenal at Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe 

Technology offers possible applications for vaping-related illness

In its early stages, lung cancer does not produce any symptoms. Which is why it’s so difficult to diagnose, treat and reduce the number of people dying from the disease. Even today, the overall survival rate at five years is just 20 %.

To improve outcomes, Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe, is employing a new, two-step strategy.

The first step focuses on early detection through a low-dose, radiation CT scan, also available at its multidisciplinary lung nodule clinics in Royal Oak and Wayne. Longtime smokers, including those who have quit within the previous 15 years after smoking a long time, qualify for an annual screening, covered by insurance.

Veran technology, which fuels electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy, is the second step. Believed to be the only such technology currently available in Southeast Michigan, it was introduced at Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe earlier in November, as part of Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

According to Dr. Michael Coello, medical director of the Lung Nodule Clinic at Beaumont, Grosse Pointe, surgeons can use the technology to pinpoint nodules and diagnose cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages.

“In the past, we used a digital photograph -- a static snapshot -- as our roadmap,” Dr. Coello explained. “But, we are moving, breathing beings, which means tumors also move with the person. As a result, precise tumor localization was difficult. This new technology keeps us locked in and synchronized with the patient’s breathing.”

Flexibility is another benefit of the new technology, Dr. Coello explained.

“If the nodule has no connection to an existing airway, in the past, we couldn’t access the lesion via bronchoscopy and would not even attempt a biopsy,” Dr. Coello said. “Now, based on this dynamic image, we can create our own pathway if none exists, and advance a needle through the chest wall directly into the lesion.”

At this point, Dr. Coello said, a sample of the nodule can be obtained for diagnosis. Or, markers can be placed around it with surgeons proceeding directly to the operating room to remove the tissue before it has a chance to spread.

“It’s very satisfying to be able to identify lung nodules early through the screening process, and, then, if necessary, follow up with bronchoscopy, thus speeding diagnosis and treatment,” Dr. Coello said. “This is what will finally make a difference in lung cancer survival.”

In addition, the new technology has potential diagnostic applications for vaping related illness, Dr. Coello said.

“If we aren’t exactly sure what’s going on, but vaping is suspected as the culprit, we could use the technology to sample lung tissue and identify the lipid droplets which are believed to be the cause of the diffuse lung injury, thus establishing cause of illness,” Dr. Coello said. “This process could solidify diagnosis, speeding and enhancing treatment.”

“Whatever the source of disease, our goal is to promote survival and make a difference in the lives of our patients,” Dr. Coello said. “These new and growing technologies are enabling us to do that.”

In time, it is hoped the technology will be introduced at other Beaumont Hospitals.

For more information about the Beaumont Health Lung Nodule clinics in Grosse Pointe, Wayne and Royal Oak visit: https://www.beaumont.org/services/oncology/centers-clinics-and-locations/lung-nodule-clinic

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