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New Technology at Fox Chase Cancer Center Allows Less Invasive Diagnostic Lung Procedures

PHILADELPHIA (August 25, 2006) - Small tumors located in peripheral regions of the pulmonary tract and lungs are difficult and risky to access for diagnosis and treatment. But now, Fox Chase Cancer Center has a new tool that allows doctors to diagnose these lesions precisely while reducing the risk of complications caused by conventional diagnostic approaches. Called the superDimension/Bronchus, pulmonologists say this tool has markedly improved the diagnostic yield.

"Our new tool allows us to do what we haven't been able to do with a bronchoscope or other existing technologies; conduct a minimally invasive examination while reaching our target, even when it's in precarious locations of the lungs," explained , director of the pulmonary cancer detection and prevention program at Fox Chase.

The superDimension/Bronchus transforms traditional bronchoscopy into a high-tech procedure. The probe is guided remotely and electromagnetically in real time with a three-dimensional CT road map of the entire lungs, including areas beyond the bronchoscope's reach. The FDA-approved procedure is performed in an outpatient bronchoscopy suite setting.

"Conevntional CT-guided transthoracic needle aspiration or fluoroscopically guided bronchoscopy procedures utilize 2-D technology, which isn't very dependable," explained Unger. "Consequently, success rates from bronchoscopies attempting to reach small peripheral densities are low, and unreliable results are common, necessitating higher-risk, costlier, more invasive procedures. With superDimension, we're able to locate the suspicious mass more adequately and then we can obtain samples of tissue either by biopsy forceps or brushings." This new technology might be also useful in guidance for safer and more precise transbronchial needle biopsy of pulmonary lymph nodes.

The superDimension/Bronchus is especially beneficial for people with small, early-stage tumors often found serendipitously.

"Most small lesions are found after an X-ray or CT scan of the abdomen or chest for unrelated problem, or through a screening program" said Unger."The superDimension/Bronchus allows us then a safer and much less invasive way to diagnose a lung problem conclusively."

In addition to its diagnostic applications, Fox Chase doctors plan to study its use to help deliver highly localized therapy to the malignant tumor in the lung.

"If we can reach the location of the tumor and mark the tumor, then the radiation therapist could target and deliver more precise radiation therapy," Unger explained. "Precision prevents damage to the surrounding lung tissue." "We are developing clinical trials to deliver high-accuracy therapy directly to the tumor."

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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