A catheter sparks a medical revolution

Chemotherapy can be aimed directly at a tumor, injecting a blood vessel leading to it.

A few days ago I wrote about A New Kind of Catheter .

I got a few things wrong. The balloons in the new catheter, the IsoFlow, are filled with liquid, not air. And inventor Robert Goldman didn't win one patent for digital downloads, but four, on behalf of his former company, GetMedia.

But Goldman did not call this morning to bury me. He offered praise, noting that The Wall Street Journal and the rest of the media hordes are now falling over themselves wanting interviews, but since we found him first SmartPlanet deserves pride of place.

By way of review the IsoFlow is not one catheter but three. A guide wire leads it to the site being treated. A second injects two balloons on either side of that location, allowing blood to flow through the vessel. A third releases a drug.

What this means is that chemotherapy can be aimed directly at a tumor, injecting a blood vessel leading to it.

Here is the rest of the story.

Goldman's key market is interventional radiologists, folks who do chemotherapy. He estimates it's a $12 billion market. While he just has FDA Class II approval his efforts to recruit doctors are boosted by the fact that Dr. Michael Dake of Stanford, a big deal in catheterization, is his scientific adviser.

"We can scale. We have product ready to ship," he said. His factory is outside Chicago, but the IsoFlow is made in teal blue, honoring Goldman's favorite hockey team, the San Jose Sharks. "You need FDA approval for the colors. That slowed down the approval. The stamping is also red, white and blue." A CE Mark for European sales will come next, but should come easier, he said.

"This is one of the smallest and most difficult to build catheters even made. We're doing a single inflation for two balloons, and they regulate to the vascular size."

Goldman is not a doctor. He is a bereaved husband man whose wife sister died of cancer. This has slowed his march to the market a little bit, witness the teal blue. But thanks to his past life with GetMedia, he has also been able to get to market without venture funding. "We can be patient."

Speaking of money. The device has a price Goldman would not reveal, but if you can't handle the price it can be discounted. "I'm in this for social reasons," he said simply.

I saved the best for last. While the IsoFlow is currently approved for use in chemotherapy following bloodlines, it can easily be adapted to neurosurgery and to other conditions, like heart disease. It may also prevent pancreatic removals for that cancer, and could be adapted to change outcomes in many cancers for which cures exist.

"This could also reduce the size of a cancer before surgery, it could change a mastectomy to a lumpectomy. There are potentials beyond just saving lives. There are other diseases that can use local drug delivery."

It's really quite the revolution. And you read it here first.

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com