Morehouse School of Medicine and Emory University Cancer Researchers Successfully Diagnose 90.2% of Peripheral Lung Nodules Utilizing Veran Medical’s Navigation System

Utilizing next generation surgical navigation technology from Veran Medical, researchers from Morehouse School of Medicine and Emory University, working in the Grady Hospital Cancer Center of Excellence, have published clinical trial results demonstrating a 90.2% yield in diagnosing patients with small, suspicious peripheral nodules in their lungs. Procedures were performed on their initial 44 consecutive patients. There were no reported pneumothorax (collapsed lung) or other complications.

Limited by conventional tools, doctors have been challenged with reaching and definitively diagnosing suspicious lung nodules with published diagnostic yields ranging from 50-70%, depending on size and location of the nodule. The resulting delays and repeated procedures add increased risk to patients and unnecessary costs to the health care system.

Veran Medical’s SPiN Thoracic Navigation System utilizes proprietary Always-On Tip Tracked® instruments with tiny electromagnetic sensors on the tips to safely and accurately assist physicians in navigating to, localize, and sample hard to reach targets. Published research confirms that those nodules move when a patient is routinely breathing —creating a moving target for lung specialists and surgeons trying to reach them. Veran’s exclusive 4D dynamic respiratory technology ensures physicians can confidently and accurately reach target nodules even if a patient coughs, moves, or simply breathes in and out during the procedure.

Dr. Eric L. Flenaugh, the director of Advanced Diagnostic and Interventional Pulmonary service, performed all procedures at Grady Memorial Hospital’s Cancer Center of Excellence in Atlanta, Georgia. Grady is the fifth largest public hospital in the United States and the largest hospital in the state of Georgia.

“Without using 4D respiratory tracking, the variation in inspiration/expiration would have contributed to completely missing the target,” said Dr. Flenaugh. “While significant movement relative to the size of the nodules being targeted was measured between the inspiration and expiration state in our study, we found the SPiNDrive system to be very accurate in compensating for this motion.”

Using Veran’s technology, Dr. Flenaugh biopsied 71 lesions with 39% of them determined to be malignant. The average nodule size was 2.2cm in diameter. All lung nodules were sampled transbronchially with navigated bronchoscopic instruments (brush, forceps, steerable catheter, or needle) and/or percutaneously using Veran’s SPiNPerc platform (navigated transthoracic needle). Dr. Flenaugh also used the SPiN Thoracic Navigation System to precisely place fiducial markers in 2 patients in order to assist Radiation Oncology with lung Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT). The study results were published in the Internet Journal of Pulmonary Medicine (

Lung Cancer remains the number one cancer killer in the United States. 94 million current or former smokers remain at elevated risk. Results from the recent National Lung Screening Trial, which screened more than 50-thousand patients and was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrate that lung screening saves lives. New physician guidelines recommend regular patient screenings using CT scans and biopsies for nodules greater than 8mm in size (about the size of a small pea).

“Veran’s SPiN Thoracic Navigation system and SPiNPerc are transforming the physician’s ability to accurately access and diagnose hard to reach Solitary Pulmonary Nodules (SPNs) and to provide cost-effective care for the 2.7 million SPNs found annually in the US,” said Veran CEO Jason Pesterfield. “We are very excited about the results of this study. Not only does this technology allow lung specialists more ways to accurately target SPNs, but it also allows those physicians the ability to streamline the diagnostic process by incorporating two procedures into one. This ultimately saves more lives through earlier diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.”