A newfangled enlarged prostate treatment is being tested at a Minnesota company, which hopes to be an alternative to failed drugs therapy or surgery in managing benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
NxThera, based in St. Paul,is testing Rezum, a device that uses steam or vapor to target the enlarged tissue of the prostate gland. This therapy is unlike other forms of ablation techniques such as microwave or radio frequency that destroy the tissue but may also affect surrounding healthy tissue.
“When you steam food, think about how quickly and rapidly the food cooks, so what we are doing is that instead of delivering thermal energy via a probe and conducting that heat through the tissue, we are injecting vapor or steam, which is stored thermal energy, into the tissue and driving it convectively through the interstitial spaces between the tissue,” explained Robert Paulson, CEO of NxThera. “Sothat allows us to treat the tissue significantly more rapidly, much more efficiently without the complications that you see with other thermal energies.”
“AMS’s investment is an indication of their interest in this therapy,” Paulson said. “They are the market leader in the laser surgery business. We believe (NxThera) is complementary to that business.”
Other investors last year wereArboretum Ventures, Aberdare Ventures, GDN Holdings,a group of venture capital investors led by Dr. David Adair, Mitsui & Co. Global Investment, Premier Asia Capital together with Lance Wallin and Brooks Wallin, and Prolog Ventures together with Alafi Capital.
Earlier filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission seems to indicate that the company raised an additional $5.75 million in previous years.
Paulson said NxThera is planning to ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an investigational device exemption to do a pivotal study following the completion of some pilot studies this year.
He thinks that physicians will see the benefit of this treatment, which unlike laser surgery or transurethral resection, does not require that patients undergo general anesthesia. In transurethral resection, the extra tissue blocking the urethra is surgically removed and requires the patient to stay overnight in the hospital. NxThera’s much less minimally invasive Rezum treatment can bedone in the urologist’s office in less than two minutes.
Photo Credit: Flickr User Amber de Bruin