Guest: Larry Gerrans
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: In addition to writing “over 100 patents”, as the Founder, President & CEO of Sanovas, Inc., Larry Gerrans has been leading a group of innovators developing groundbreaking interventional technologies to treat the diseases of the Lung and to cure Lung Cancer.
Segment Overview: Larry Gerrans talks about Lung Cancer screening developments and techniques and how those techniques can be improved to ensure accurate screenings.
Health Professional Radio
Neal: Hello you’re listening to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard. Glad that you could join us today. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the second leading cause of all deaths in the United States. Now, the US healthcare system’s about to be deluged with the diagnosis of early stage lung cancers and therefore, what we need to do is develop appropriate therapies and methods for dealing with peripheral tumors where the majority of lung cancers begin. Many of us don’t even realize that we have lung cancer until we’re at stage four. Our guest in studio today is Larry Gerrans, President and CEO Sanovas incorporated and we’re here to talk today about some of the emerging trends in dealing with the screening of this disease. How are you doing today Larry?
Larry: Very well. Thank you Neal.
N: Thank you so much for returning. As president and CEO of Sanovas, you’re involved in inventing and patenting technologies that are designed to improve the treatment of lung cancer. Not only improve the treatment, but also the screening methods that are now in place. You seek to change those and to have those altered. It’s been reported that Medicare will now be involved in helping with some of these screenings. You’ve talked a little bit about that trend that’s emerging now.
L: Certainly. This is a very exciting time for the detection of lung cancer, much like we’re familiar with breast examination for detecting breast cancer and colonoscopy for detecting colon rectal cancer and the prostate exam for detecting prostate cancer. Lung cancer as you related, is the number two killer. It’s the number one cancer killer and it’s the number two cause of death behind cardiac disease, cardiovascular disease. And what’s really exciting is that here in 2015, Medicare has authorized reimbursement for a low dose helical CT which is being basically a CT that has a low radiation doses to detect a pulmonary anomalies in the lungs. So as of this year, your insurance company and Medicare will now provide reimbursement for a CT electively to look for and to screen for pulmonary disease, lung cancer in your lungs and that comes in heels of the National Lungs Screening Trial which was one of the largest comparative effectiveness studies that the National Cancer Institute had ever conducted. And essentially, what the study came out with was an enrollment of 53,000 patients. Twenty six thousand received an x-ray, 26,700 had received a low dose of helical CT from 2002 to 2004. In 2009, when they started to investigate the data, they realize there is a very statistically significant disparity. And the number of patients that an x-ray had detected cancer and versus the number of patients that a CT had detected cancer. And so for the patients that were in the x-ray group, only 6% of those patients had a pulmonary anomaly detected. Whereas of the patient that had a low dose of helical CT, 24.2% of those patients had a pulmonary anomaly detected. That was a 400% increase in detection using a CT versus an x-ray. So for those reasons, the National Lung Screening Trial was called off because of the statistical significance not to mention the fact that the mortality rate in both groups was significantly different as well. They had detected about 6.7% mortality rate in the CT group versus the 20% mortality rate in the x-ray group. So we had a significant disparity in both mortality and significant disparity in both screening and because of that correlation, it has now prompted the advocacy groups and the insurance companies and now Medicare to proactively promote CT for screening. So now the tool billboard near you, and to the hospital near you, we’ll be able to do the CT examination that will help you detect whether or not you might have a lung cancer.
N: Now it seems that this research was being conducted around the same time that the Affordable Care Act was being drafted and about to be implemented. Do you think that the timing had anything to do with the expeditious changing of these trends as far as Medicare and insurance companies are concerned?
L: I think they may very well just have been coincidental, considering the fact that the National Lung Screening Trial was initiated in 2002. I think the data haven’t come out in 2009, which is coincidental to the Affordable Care Act taking place. However, I think that the Affordable Care Act and I think that the spirit of healthcare in general is to serve the greater good and that is to help get new and innovative for screening modalities and interventional technology to patients and the providers who so desperately need them. I think what we’re seeing is a very healthy trend towards wellness and part of that is to identify disease before it manifests into end stage, disruptive condition, that actually cause our healthcare system a lot more money.
N: What type of support as far as training does Sanovas offer when physicians become interested in your technologies? Does these physicians have to come to your site or do you have representatives nationwide or even worldwide that can train and guide specialists, say, in aim for instance?
L: Sure. We have a very sophisticated life science biotech facility here where we can do labs and training for our physicians who come here to California. However, the big part of what we do and what we’ve always done and one of the biggest things that I’ve always been a believer in is the training of advanced procedures to the clinical establishment. I mean, they’re obviously tired in treating patients every day and they don’t have the time to go back to school. So, one of the biggest services we provide are educational forms and labs where we can actually bring them into a regional facility or a hospital that’s equipped with educational facilities and provide them presentations – dry lab, wet labs, you can do cadaver and animal labs that will allow these guys to get hands on with the tools, participate in the development of next generation tools and help us develop tools by doctor for doctors. I’m a firm believer in the fact that what we do is because of doctors and what we do is to serve their needs. So everything we develop is to suit their unmet clinical needs and we need their input to do that. So we absolutely engage in significant educational forms.
N: Now you also talked in another segment, you mentioned stem cell research development at your company as well. Could you talk just a little bit as we wrap up this segment, about your involvement in stem cell research?
L: Absolutely. I think and just to give your audience one thing to ponder, is that the human body was intended to live to be a 175 years. And that is, if you could replace all the parts. And a lot of times, we’ve seen people perish because of the degenerative diseases that we’re out of body parts. And stem cells are very promising opportunity to regenerate organs and tissues that should have degenerated to a point of no return. And so, we’ve got a very sophisticated tissue banking facility, molecular science lab, and the stem cell culture bank and we’re working on to creating bio-inks that are going to enable us to create 3D printer for organs and vessels will allow us to regenerate those organs and tissues that have been degenerated to a point of no return.
N: Thank you so much. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard. We’ve been in studio today talking with Larry Gerrans, president and CEO of Sanovas. In addition to writing over 100 patents as the founder and president of Sanovas Incorporated, Larry has been leading a group of innovators and developing interventional technologies to treat diseases of the lung and to cure lung cancer. It’s been great having you here with us today Larry.
L: It’s been a delight. Thank you Neal.
N: Thank you so much. Transcript and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm and you can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.