Prostate Forum spoke with Dr. Stephen Bravo of Sand Lake Imaging about how he came to become interested in the Feraheme MRI for prostate cancer. To read more about Dr. Bravo’s work on the Feraheme MRI and prostate cancer, see Prostate Forum Volume 15 # 5.
You were originally trained as a neuroradiologist. How did you become interested in prostate cancer and the Feraheme MRI?
I’m fellowship trained as a neuroradiologist and as an interventionist radiologist. My interest in prostate cancer began from a personal interaction with the disease through my Dad. My great-grandfather, grandfather, and father all had prostate cancer. With each successive generation it has become more aggressive and malignant. It ended up causing my father’s demise when he was in his 60s. My great-grandfather and grandfather all died in their 90s from other diseases.
I came to realize helping my Dad process through the medical system and treatment options for prostate cancer that even though we were at some of the finest places in the country in academic medicine that many things that I, as a very educated consumer, had advocated for my Dad, were misguided. That’s not to say that they were wrong, but that there were other alternative options that probably should have been evaluated. I’m relatively passionate about the fact that I don’t want people going through what I went through, what my Dad went through, or what our family went through.
As I went on this journey with my father, we ended up consulting with both Michael Dattoli and Snuffy Myers and learned how they treat prostate cancer and how different their approaches are compared to many in Academia in private practice. I was interested to see that it seemed that many of their patients did far better than the standard, normal survival data that is out there for prostate cancer patients.
It turns out that Dr. Myers and Dr. Dattoli had been using a similar type of drug called the Combidex to try to delineate lymphatic disease. Combidex was not FDA-approved and so they were sending their patients over to Europe for it. Combidex has a very similar USPIO to Feraheme. Feraheme was produced by the same company that produced Combidex and eventually did get FDA-approval for treatment of anemia in renal dialysis patients. When Feraheme was approved, it was actually Dr. Dattoli who reached out to me and said why don’t we see if this works as well as Combidex has been working for us in the Netherlands? That’s how we started upon this venture together. We were subsequently joined by Dr. Myers, who was also very interested in determining whether there was a possibility that Feraheme MRI would help determine the proper therapeutic treatment options for his patients.
Over the course of the past several years, we’ve been evaluating these patients with the expert clinical input of Drs. Dattoli and Myers.