Israeli technology detects early-stage cancer ‘navigating’ inside lungs

After undergoing its first clinical trial in 2015, the technology is now fully approved and commercialized

LUNGVISION Platform (™), Body Vision technology targeting lung cancer. (photo credit: BODY VISION)
LUNGVISION Platform (™), Body Vision technology targeting lung cancer.
(photo credit: BODY VISION)
Israeli start-up Body Vision has created technology that allows doctors to detect early-stage lung cancer through a minimally invasive procedure navigating the affected organ.
Lung cancer global survival rate is just around 10%, making this form of cancer one of the deadliest in the world. In the US, where advanced medical facilities are available, the survival rate stands at about 18%. In order to increase the chance of survival, a big difference can be made by how early cancer is uncovered.
Body Vision technology involves minimally invasive bronchoscope navigation of the affected organ instead of the current approach of “watchful waiting” that a lesion in the lung will disappear. The watchful waiting approach is often used today to avoid the risk of an invasive alternative: surgical or CT-guided biopsy procedures for diagnostics.
The Ramat Hasharon-based company’s CEO, Dorian Averbuch, has a background in mechanical engineering, but he has been working in the field of pulmonology for the past 20 years, as he explained to The Jerusalem Post.
Through his work in various companies in the field, he realized that although a lot of innovation was employed in imaging and tools, too often physicians were left with invasive and risky procedures as the only options even for diagnosing the tumors.
“When I started in 2001, probably the latest innovation available was the bronchoscopy procedure itself that had been introduced decades before, even though the imaging equipment had improved dramatically,” he noted.
Years later and with much more experience, Averbuch still felt that something was not working out in the interaction between humans and technology in treating lung cancer.
“I told myself that we were doing something wrong, since the advancement of imaging equipment and tools had not significantly changed the survival rate of lung cancer patients,” he said.
From that moment, the entrepreneur embarked on a journey that prompted him to establish Body Vision in 2014, with the idea to use available technology to collect and use all the possible information from the body to target the disease.
A few years later, using a combination of augmented reality, imaging and artificial intelligence, its technology takes advantage of lung tunnels to reach suspected nodules and check if they are cancerous tumors, therefore allowing surgeons to treat them when the lesion is small and early stage, thus improving the patient’s chances to recover and survive significantly.
“Our platform called LungVision can take all the data that is collected and present it together in one intelligent model. This allows information that had not been used before to be accessible and utilized in a comprehensive way,” Averbuch said.
Since the first clinical study which started in 2015, the technology is now fully approved and commercialized. The Institute of Pulmonary and Allergy Medicine at the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson and Hasharon campuses was one of the first hospitals in the world to start clinical procedures with LungVision, and today the technology has already been employed in hundreds of procedures across 14 hospitals in the United States.
“With the technology generally employed in the field, if someone has a mass in a lung, we can perform a biopsy with a bronchoscopy, but there is no guarantee to get to the right point, especially when lesions are very small. Other procedures available have a high risk of complications. This new device helps us get a tridimensional model of the nodule, meaning a precise target for the biopsy, through the data collected by a CT and other noninvasive examinations,” the head of the institute, Prof. Mordechai Kramer, told the Post, emphasizing that the earlier the diagnosis, the better the prognosis.
Another benefit of the technology is represented by its adaptability to a wide range of existing machines and instruments, minimizing the need for additional hardware in procedure rooms and therefore the costs.
“We have already developed the second generation of our platform, much more powerful than the first,” Averbuch said.
Kramer echoed his words. “Once we make sure that this system can get to the lesion in a precise way, we are going to be able to hit it from the inside. The future is treatment.”