One of the greatest fears for a recovering cancer patient is relapse: the return of cancer years or decades after it is initially beaten back.
But for breast cancer patients, there’s a tried-and-true treatment that can go a long way towards preventing relapse. The treatment has been available in Canada for more than a decade, and now health startup Concure Oncology is bringing that treatment to the U.S.
Concure co-founder and CEO Sandra Rorem told GeekWire that the company has slowly raised $5 million over the past year, all from inside investors, to grow the company and bring the treatment, called Breast Microseed, into the market. Last year, it was made available at Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle.
The funds are going towards the company’s growth needs, Rorem said. One goal is to grow the company’s team, which currently numbers eight, she said.
Although the company hasn’t sought venture capital yet, Rorem said it plans to pursue a Series A financing round in the near future.
The company is in a unique position because it is young in terms of health startups — it was founded just three years ago — but it is building on technology that has been developed and studied for more than a decade.
Concure’s Breast Microseed treatment is used after a patient has tumors removed from breast tissue. It involves permanently placing a small titanium seed, filled with radioactive palladium, where the tumor used to be.
Over 60-90 days, the seeds release a small amount of radiation directly to the site where the tumor used to be, killing any remnants of cancer before they can take hold and grow again. The titanium seeds can safely remain in a patient’s tissue and are so small they can’t be felt, even during a mammogram.
Rorem co-founded the company with Concure’s current CFO Kevin Kelley and Dr. Ralph Pasqualy, a former physician and executive at Swedish Hospital in Seattle.