Colorado Cancer Tech Company Helping Liver Cancer Patients
Written by: Jaclyn Allen, Denver 7 ABC
A new cancer treatment technology made in Colorado could change the way doctors treat hundreds of thousands of liver cancer patients.
"The doctor gave me results -- he said, 'It's bad. It's very bad,'" said Jerry Bodnar, remembering the moment his doctor in Ohio told him the cancer had spread to his liver. "He did not know what to do. Did not know what to do."
At that point, Bodnar started researching and found the Interventional Radiologists at Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree.
"Everybody says these guys are pioneers. If you want to go the the best, they're the best," said Bodnar, lying in a hospital bed following his procedure.
He is one of many liver cancer patients coming to Colorado from all over the country to see Dr. Charles Nutting, an interventional radiologist treating inoperable liver cases.
"There are even physicians in the field that don't understand what we do," said Nutting.
What he does is minimally-invasive surgery using a catheter to deliver beads of chemo or radiation directly to the tumor in the liver.
In recent years, he said, the technology of that catheter has significantly improved thanks to the Colorado start-up company Surefire Medical, Inc.
Taking a tour of their Westminster headquarters, where the device is designed and fabricated, Rebeca Offner, Surefire Medical's Director of Clinical Affairs, said their catheter has a valve on the tip that helps direct the beads of medication where they are supposed to go and prevents them from flowing into other parts of the body.
The company just raised $15 million in venture capital to expand.
"Before, it was a little bit of a guessing game, but with this device, I'm pretty confident I can deliver almost 100 percent of what I'm trying to deliver," said Dr. Nutting. "It also decreases the time of the procedure, and we give higher doses of therapy."
Nutting said the idea is that the device is delivering higher doses deeper into the tumor.
Surefire's catheter received FDA approval in 2011 and is now being used in 14 countries and every state.
But for Jerry Bodnar, what is important is the new technology and the doctors in Colorado gave him something doctors elsewhere could not.
"There's always hope. You've got to think there's always hope," said Bodnar. "I know this is going to work. It's going to work."