AtlantiCare is the first healthcare system in the northeastern U.S. to use Optellum's Virtual Nodule Clinic. Located in New Jersey, it is integrating the innovative technology into its early lung cancer diagnosis program at its Heart & Lung and Cancer Care institutes at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center (ARMC).
Lung cancer is among the most common types of cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths in the world, according to the American Lung Association. The current worldwide five-year survival rate is 20 percent, primarily because most patients are diagnosed after the disease has progressed to an advanced stage. However, the survival rate for small tumors treated at Stage 1A is up to 90 percent, a disparity that highlights a critical need for diagnosis and treatment at the earliest stage possible.
One of the best opportunities for early diagnosis of small, pre-symptomatic lung cancers is presented by the two million patients in the United States every year whose lung nodule is identified incidentally during chest CT scans ordered for other reasons, such as during an emergency department visit or cardiac event.
Optellum is the leader in AI-enabled lung cancer diagnosis, and the first and only medtech company to attain FDA clearance, CE-MDR in the EU, and UKCA in the UK for its software platform Virtual Nodule Clinic. This first-of-a-kind platform can help physicians identify and track at-risk patients so that they can biopsy concerning lesions early and start treatments sooner to improve the outcome of patients' care.
By adopting the Optellum Virtual Nodule Clinic, the Interventional Pulmonology team at AtlantiCare's Lung Nodule Clinic, led by Amit Borah, M.D., interventional pulmonologist, focuses on identifying and systematically following up on patients with incidentally detected lung nodules.
Optellum's integrated Lung Cancer Prediction capability also helps AtlantiCare clinicians prioritize patients at high risk of having lung cancer. Since AtlantiCare began using the Patient Discovery search it has identified approximately 50 out of 300 patients who had lesions that need close surveillance.
"Early-stage lung cancer symptoms are often vague or mimic those of other illnesses," said Borah. "Through this technology, we are detecting suspicious nodules at earlier stages than ever, which is so critical to saving lives."
Borah explained the technology sends an alert to AtlantiCare's Interventional Pulmonology team if it detects a nodule through a CT scan done at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center. "This could be any patient whose scan shows the lungs or a portion of the lungs. We follow up with the patient and the patient's primary care and other providers. We then determine whether the individual can benefit from robotic bronchoscopy to biopsy and/or treat the nodule at its earliest stages - before cancer spreads or a nodule becomes cancerous."
The ground-breaking AI solution operates within AtlantiCare's Lung Nodule Clinic. AtlantiCare was one of the first healthcare organizations in the nation to offer the Ethicon's MONARCH™ robotic bronchoscopy platform, acquired by Johnson & Johnson JNJ in 2019.
The Virtual Nodule Clinic pre-operative AI assessment helps inform clinical decisions for appropriate follow-up interventions using the MONARCH™ robotic bronchoscopy techniques, with the goal of achieving the earliest possible and least invasive treatment. Thanks to this unique combination, the clinician can find patients with the smallest and hardest to reach tumors and deploy the robotic bronchoscope to reach and biopsy the regions highlighted with the help of the Optellum AI.
"We have already identified suspicious tumors in individuals who have no known risk of lung cancer through this technology," added Borah. "It will enhance the life-saving progress we've experienced since offering robotic bronchoscopy to our patients."
Václav Potěšil PhD, Optellum's founder and chief business officer, also commented on the partnership: "Our collaboration with AtlantiCare is noteworthy because we added a new healthcare system to our growing network, where we can work closely with the interventional pulmonology team to evaluate how combining the powers of the Optellum AI and robotic bronchoscopy platforms impacts health outcomes for patients, and take AI-driven early lung cancer interception to the next level."