Rethinking Healthcare

A new kind of catheter

Posting in Cancer

Goldman's invention is called the IsoFlow. It's a completely different kind of chemo catheter.

So many great medical stories emerge from tragedy. This is one of them.

Robert Goldman already had a patent on digital downloads when his sister Amy died of colon cancer. It began a seven-year crusade to find a better way to get chemotherapy into people.

Right now it's simple, and deadly. You stick a needle into someone, connected to a bag of chemicals. The chemicals flow into the body and, since a tumor is genetically weaker than a normal cell, you hope the tumor is killed completely before the patient dies.

Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. Even when it does the suffering is tremendous.

Goldman's invention is called the IsoFlow. It's a completely different kind of chemo catheter.

Rather than sticking a pin in your arm, a long thin tube is inserted into a vein. The wire follows the vein to a location near the tumor. So far, not unusual.

Inside the tube, however, are three smaller lines. One is a guide wire that leads the tube to its destination. The other two lines are connected to air and fluid.

You use the guide wire to get the tube close to the tumor. You depress the plunger on the air connection, and this inflates twin balloons on either side of the tube's final location. Inflate the balloons, withdraw the guide wire, and now blood can flow through the tube across the site of the tumor, so there is no loss of circulation.

Now all you have to do is press the plunger on the liquid, and your chemo cocktail follows the tube, takes a left at the balloon, then flows directly into the tumor.

This is not some late next decade technology. It has FDA approval as a Class II medical device, meaning oncologists and radiologists could get their hands on it within months.

Maybe in time to save your sister. Or you.

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Dana Blankenhorn

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Dana Blankenhorn has written for the Chicago Tribune, Advertising Age's "NetMarketing" supplement and founded the Interactive Age Daily for CMP Media. He holds degrees from Rice and Northwestern universities. He is based in Atlanta. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure