LEE COUNTY, Fla.- A Sanibel man's machine to treat cancer is moving closer to human trials.
The John Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation plans to approach the FDA early next year and begin human trials in early 2015. That's after promising results from large animal testing this year.
The late John Kanzius was a Sanibel resident who invented a machine that uses radio waves to kill cancer cells.
Kanzius lost his battle with cancer in 2009.
Executive Director of the Foundation Mark Neidig says, "the treatment is breaking all barriers of what the norm is. It's changing history right before our eyes and yet when a human patient can't benefit from it, you feel at a loss."
But now, the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation is a step closer to human trials for this non-invasive cancer treatement a former Sanibel resident helped create.
Those trials could happen right here in Southwest Florida, fulfilling John Kanzius' dream.
"One thing that John said on his death bed, that his wish would be honored that the people in Erie, Pennsylvania and Southwest Florida would be honored and remembered," Neidig says.
Kanzius had leukemia. One night when he was sick from chemo, the former TV and radio station engineer got an idea:
harness radio waves to kill cancer cells. Despite no medical background or college degree, Kanzius ultimately invented a prototype for a machine located at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.
Doctors can attach antibodies to metal nanoparticles so they actually hunt down cancer cells. Radio waves then heat up the particles and zap the cancer, leaving healthy cells intact.
Neidig says, "a very exciting, promising future that we didn't know yesterday. Today we know it does work."
If all goes according to plan, doctors could begin phase one human testing in Houston in early 2015.
Phase two could begin eight months later, expanding to cities like Southwest Florida, and Kanzius' hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania.
That would include 50 to 75 patients in our community.