Guest: Sacha Loiseau
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Sacha Loiseau started his career at the National Center for Space Studies (CNES) in Toulouse and at the Paris Observatory, then joined NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, as a research scientist. Sacha is a graduate of the École Polytechnique in Paris and has a Ph.D. in Astrophysics and Optical Instrumentation. Sacha is the CEO and co-founder of Mauna Kea Technologies and piloted the development of the Cellvizio endomicroscopy product line. Today, CellVizio has been used on well over 100,000 patients worldwide.
Segment overview: Sacha Loiseau, CEO and co-founder of Mauna Kea Technologies discusses why hospitals will benefit using the Cellvizio Endomicroscopy Technology for more in-depth cancer diagnosis.
Health Professional Radio – Deciding to Use CellVizio in Cancer Diagnosis
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, thank you for joining us on the program today. Our guest in studio is returning to speak with us, Mr. Sacha Loiseau, he’s the President, CEO and founder of Mauna Kea Technologies. He started the company back in 2000 and he’s here today to talk with us about the Cellvizio product line. It’s a product line that’s making great strides in the treatment and diagnosis of cancer, certain types of cancers and Sacha’s in studio today to talk with us about why physicians and hospitals would want to choose Cellvizio. Welcome to the program Sacha.
Sacha Loiseau: Thank you Neal, thank you for having me.
N: Thank you. Your background is very interesting in that you started out in astrophysics looking towards the skies and now you’re looking within in the smallest way possible. Talk about your background and how it relates to the founding of Mauna Kea.
S: Yes indeed, I was an astrophysicist before creating this company about 15 years ago was there is a very strong technology called connection between looking at the stars and looking at the space and of course looking at the inner space and making a telescope and making a microscope is not very different optically so that’s what we’ve done and we apply techniques that really emanate from astrophysics and with a very multi-disciplinary angle. We’ve taken the microscope inside the body of the patients and by doing so we are providing physicians and surgeons with a completely new way of looking at tissue and it’s a very relevant vision that they needed to have and of course which was done previously but not inside the patients but outside the patients in a laboratory so we’re really bringing the lab inside the patients.
N: So my understanding of certain types of cancers, you do an invasive biopsy and then you analyze the tissue from that biopsy. Why would a doctor or a hospital want to use Cellvizio as opposed to what’s been working for them so far?
S: Absolutely, a very good question. Of course so I would say the answer is that over the years after conducting many clinical trials which have been published we’ve received a very strong support and endorsements from medical societies. So for instance you’re talking about biopsies well if you go on the College of American Pathologists website, you can download educational fliers of why using endomicroscopy is better for patients simply because targeting biopsies with an In vivo microscope is going to get to provide a much better yield of biopsies so all of it is very well explained. And recently we’ve even received a strong endorsement from the American Society of General Surgeons clearly stating that to get a comprehensive assessment of the nature of a pathology inside the stomach or the esophagus typically with a patient who suffers from reflux disease and possibly already from Barret’s esophagus, using endomicroscopy to quickly assess the gastroesophageal junction is proven to be much more effective, much more sensitive and much more specific than existing procedures either simply based on visual assessments to an endoscope or with one or two random biopsies taken at this location. So I think that’s why we feel very confident that we have now proven the effectiveness of using endomicroscopy of course in certain applications today and in more and more applications tomorrow.
N: Now effectiveness as far as health is concerned that’s one thing but what about cost effectiveness? How does this technology pay for itself, it being better than the norm?
S: Absolutely. So we’ve been very fortunate and again thanks to the quality of the clinical trials that were conducted and published to obtain a new CPT codes from the American Medical Association and so the procedure using our technology, endomicroscopy, typically in the esophagus of the stomach is a reimbursable procedure in a hospital or in an ambulatory surgical center. And so there is today coverage nationwide by Medicare/Medicaid and certainly commercial players are now covering and we expect more and more to be covering this service and thanks to the recent recommendation we obtained from the American Society of General Surgeons and the support from other societies we clearly expect this coverage to really be more positive in the future. So I think this is how physicians and surgeons and hospital administrators can feel confident that adapting Cellvizio is not only better for their patients but it is also going to be better for their practice by just simply allowing for a better procedure that is reimbursed in the future.
N: At your website maunakeatech.com you offer support and information on the Cellvizio product line as well as separate training for physicians. Does there exist some training for the physicians to help their patients understand and to trust this new technology as they trust their physician in the first place?
S: That’s a great question. Yes, so we have not only in a fully educational website which is called cellvizio.net on which not only physicians but also of course patients can register and look at the educational materials so physicians can get training, they can even connect with experts and with us of course so we can connect them with regional experts if they need to. We also have a patient website. For instance we actually have a couple some of them dedicated to educating patients on possibly what kind of treatment they can get say if they suffer from Barret’s esophagus or from reflux disease or if they have a pancreatic lesion, what they can expect from different procedures that they might have to undergo to get to a characterization of their lesions. So I think all these materials will help physicians and patients alike get a better understanding of how they can get a better service if you will.
N: Have you received any feedback or does this feedback exist as far as military applications say in military hospitals or even in combat situation where some type of need for that exist? Does the Mauna Kea have any eye on the future as far as that’s concerned?
S: So that’s a very interesting thought. We’re present in VA hospitals and we’re very proud of that. We actually thought about what you’re saying because obviously in combat situations you cannot have the pathologist on site, you cannot have so many things that you have in a hospital so by providing digital In vivo microscopy which is what we do, we can typically provide a means to connect typically combat zone with somewhere else where they have the information, the people who can process the information more adequately. So I think in the future we will have a place there, possibly integrated into other systems and platforms. For instance we have shown that we can work very well with surgical robotics and so surgeons already are combining Cellvizio with surgical robotics to make a better procedure so this can typically be in our future, I really think so.
N: Well Sacha some exciting possibilities, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you in studio today.
S: Thank you so much Neal.
N: Thank you. You’ve been listening to Health Professional radio. I’m your host Neal Howard in studio with Mr. Sacha Loiseau, CEO and co-founder of Mauna Kea Technologies, developers of the Cellvizio product line. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm and you can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.