It was 2001 and I had just assisted a neurosurgeon with implementation of a new surgical microscope during a spine fusion surgery with instrumentation (plates, rods & screws). I had seen hundreds of these surgeries over the previous two decades and continued to be struck by how incredibly invasive and archaic the procedures seemed. How could it be in this age of technology that cutting a patient open so painstakingly and then proceeding to put all this hardware into their back, was really the best and sometimes only option for millions suffering from chronic back pain?
I left that visit thinking: “There’s got to be a better way.”
A few years later in 2008, I sold my surgical distribution company to Itochu, and after spending the next couple of years investing in and learning about emerging technologies that could augment spinal surgeries, I came across a cell-based therapy that I believed could disrupt the treatment paradigm by offering patients a non-surgical, potentially regenerative way to relieve their pain and disability.
Fast forward to 10 years later, our incredible team here at DiscGenics has demonstrated very compelling preclinical data for the product we’re now calling IDCT (injectable discogenic cell therapy); has begun a Phase I/II clinical trial in patients with mild-to-moderate lumbar degenerative disc disease (DDD); and is engaged with some of the top manufacturing minds in the world to support scale-up in preparation for commercialization.
There are millions people in the U.S. alone (including my lovely wife, Donna) who are debilitated by chronic back pain and desperate to find solutions that will take away their pain and allow them avoid surgery.
My goal is to help these people and I believe that we have a real shot to make a significant impact with IDCT.
I’ve started this blog as an avenue to share the DiscGenics story as it evolves, to educate on some of the many nuances of cell therapy, and to generally muse on the industry.
I hope you’ll join us on this journey!