Pulmonologist helps create new robotic device to detect lung cancer earlier than ever before

Facing a glowing screen and with a small, thumb-controlled device in hand, pulmonologist and advanced bronchoscopist D. Kyle Hogarth, MD, FCCP, looks like he could be playing a video game. Instead, he’s inside a room at the University of Chicago Medicine, guiding a new robotic device deeper into the lungs than most physicians have ever gone before.

Hogarth is an expert in advanced bronchoscopy, a minimally invasive procedure that lets physicians see inside a person’s airways with the help of a small camera (or scope) attached to a long tube that’s inserted through the mouth. For years, he’d been frustrated by the existing technology’s limitations: a single scope and its rigid casing can only navigate so far into the vast landscape of the lungs. Even more frustrating? Much of the detailed work to position the device inside the intricate and delicate spaces had to be manually done by the doctor.