Stanford helps an innovator

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Stanford helps an innovator

Postby Sharon » Sat Nov 14, 2009 9:27 am

This article has nothing to do with CCSVI, but I found it interesting because of the possible use of the invention in cancer and because Dr. Dake and the interventional radiologists at Stanford encouraged the inventor to move forward.

http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_13772885

Cassidy: Silicon Valley inventor seeks next big thing in cancer fight
By Mike Cassidy
Mercury News Columnist
Posted: 11/12/2009 12:00:00 PM PST
Updated: 11/13/2009 01:29:14 PM PST


Robert Goldman is a geek's geek, a Silicon Valley inventor who likes to know exactly how things work.

He tinkered with interactive television back in the day. More recently he developed and sold the patents to key bits of the technology that makes downloadable music possible. His sharp mind has made him rich, but even Goldman has his limits when it comes to understanding how life works.

Like when his sister was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1998. How could anyone understand how that works? Goldman, who is used to finding answers, was the one left asking, Why?

"You go to the doctor and they say to you, 'You've got a 30 percent chance to live,' " says Goldman, 50. "What is this, a lottery?"

He was inspired by his sister, Amy Cohen, who was a fighter. She'd just given birth to a baby girl when she was diagnosed. She fought to be granted compassionate use of an ImClone drug awaiting federal approval. When her appeals to the company were denied, she called ImClone President Sam Waksal directly and persuaded him to give her the drug.

Her story made "60 Minutes," but her persistence did not save her life. Cohen died in 2003 at age 39.

Meantime, Goldman had started researching cancer treatment. What was the state of the art? What had been tried? He seized on the idea that if chemotherapy could be applied directly to tumors instead of throughout the body, some patients would have a better chance.

What he needed, he figured, was a catheter that would deliver drugs right into the blood vessels supplying cancerous tumors. He pondered and tinkered and read up on medicine and devices.

"I never had any experience with medical devices," he says. "I didn't have a clue."

He started talking to doctors. The first question they'd ask, he says, was: "Where did you get your medical degree?"

"I don't have one of those," he'd reply sheepishly. Sometimes that was the end of the conversation. Then Goldman put calls in to a couple of Stanford University Medical Center doctors. They were in Silicon Valley. Maybe they'd understand that good ideas can come from anywhere. Dr. Huy M. Do, an interventional neuroradiologist at Stanford, still remembers his initial reaction about five years ago.

"Who is this crazy guy?" Do says. But he was moved by the story of Goldman's sister and the more he listened, the more Goldman's conceptual design made sense.

"He's obviously very bright, just a great innovator," says Do, an unpaid Goldman adviser. "He's a very positive guy." Do told Goldman to keep working, concentrate on making the device smaller.

Goldman tweaked and tweaked. He formed a company, Vascular Designs, headquartered at his Almaden Valley home. He lined up angel investors and $1.8 million in seed money. He added about $3 million of his own. He submitted his design to the Food and Drug Administration. It was rejected. Three times. Then in May, he got it: FDA approval.

"What did I do when I found out?" Goldman says. "I cried." It was a good cry.

"The fact that he was somehow able to get this through the whole FDA system that everybody complains about," says Stanford's Dr. Michael Dake, another unpaid adviser, "that's an amazing story."

It's still too early to know how widely the catheter, known as the IsoFlow, will be deployed. Every cancer case is different and Goldman's catheter is not right for all cases. Goldman's push now is to persuade doctors to try the catheter.

A Wisconsin neurologist became the first to use it recently with mixed results. The device functioned as designed, but the patient's tumor was situated in such a way that the doctor could not thread the catheter all the way to the blood vessels feeding the tumor, says Goldman, who attended the surgery.

Goldman is undeterred. He is continuing to refine the IsoFlow. There will be other cases, he says.

And if he's learned anything in the years since his sister died, it's that sometimes it takes a setback to inspire success.

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Postby cheerleader » Sat Nov 14, 2009 9:41 am

What a great article, thanks for sharing, Sharon. These are folks looking to cure disease....and in Goldman's case, it's personal. I love the fact Dr. D is an unpaid advisor. I still do not know when this man sleeps or eats or sees his family, but I am so thankful has taken on MS.
cheer
Husband dx RRMS 3/07
dx dual jugular vein stenosis (CCSVI) 4/09
http://ccsviinms.blogspot.com
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Postby Sharon » Sat Nov 14, 2009 9:56 am

Joan -

When you have had a loved one go through the chemo treatments and you see a body ravaged by the drugs, one becomes very angry. Something that delivers the drugs directly to the tumor --- rest of the body remains healthy --- a chance for cancer treatment to become bearable. I hope Goldman succeeds.

Sharon
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Postby Loobie » Sat Nov 14, 2009 11:36 am

cheerleader wrote:What a great article, thanks for sharing, Sharon. These are folks looking to cure disease....and in Goldman's case, it's personal. I love the fact Dr. D is an unpaid advisor. I still do not know when this man sleeps or eats or sees his family, but I am so thankful has taken on MS.
cheer


I was thinking the same thing on the plane. When does this guy sleep? I really, really like that guy.
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Postby ErikaSlovakia » Sat Nov 14, 2009 11:43 am

Loobie wrote:
I was thinking the same thing on the plane. When does this guy sleep? I really, really like that guy.

I am thinking the same about Dr. Simka. He should be cloned.
:) May be he never goes gome, he is only visiting hospitals and answer his e-mails. :)
Dr. Ludyga is also very busy.
Well, good quality people are always busy :wink:
Erika
Aug. 7, 09 Doppler Ultras. in Poland, left Jugul. valve problem, RRMS since 1996, now SPMS,
- Nov.3,09: one stent in the left jug. vein in Katowice, Poland, LDN, never on DMDs
- Jan. 19, 11: control venography in Katowice - negative but I feel worse
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Postby ozarkcanoer » Sat Nov 14, 2009 11:45 am

Thanks to cheerleader that all of us with MS have Dr. Dake on our side. The article was stupendous !!!! Thanks for posting it !!!!
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