After almost two decades of research at academic medical centers, Dr. John Frangioni realized that while academia was a rich environment for innovation, it was not an ideal setting for invention to be converted into commercial products that could tangibly help patients and doctors. He then founded Curadel in an effort to move his potentially life-changing technologies into the clinical setting.
The road has not been easy, as it rarely is for new startups. But Curadel is well on its way to success with its revolutionary FLARE® technology lighting the way.
Using FLARE® to Light the Way
FLARE®, which stands for Fluorescence Assisted Resection and Exploration, has the potential to empower surgeons with real-time critical information that could result in greatly improved outcomes for patients undergoing cancer surgery with curative intent.
“The system uses near-infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye but penetrates millimeters through blood and tissue,” explains Chief Chemist Mark Bordo. Bordo notes that Curadel is developing “special contrast agents that could be injected into the bloodstream to highlight various structures, such as tumors, blood vessels, nerves, lymph nodes, glands, etc. When realized, FLARE® imaging will allow one to simultaneously identify different structures, enabling surgeons to resect tumors while avoiding normal tissues, all in real time.”
Why is this so important? Cancer cells don’t stick out like a sore thumb. Instead, tumors often blend into their environment often making it difficult to discern malignant tissues from normal, healthy ones. FLARE® will help to eliminate the guesswork. In sharing Curadel’s near-term goals, Chief Operating Officer Saira Y. Valley points out that when developed for human use, “FLARE® technology will be able to affect every stakeholder in the healthcare spectrum. For insurance companies and hospitals, it could reduce the cost of care. For the patient and their family, it would provide emotional relief because they would know in real time the outcome of their surgery. For the surgeon, it could provide the expediency of seeing the tumor and removing it quickly, without having to dissect for long periods. Everyone would benefit from this kind of technology.”
Although FLARE® technology products have not yet been approved by the FDA, both the medical device and the imaging agent constituents have been successfully tested in both small and large animals.