Healing through targeted local delivery of novel therapies
At Stanford, Dr. Thakor is leading a unique one-of-a-kind multidisciplinary program called IRIS - Interventional Radiology Innovation at Stanford, which aims to bring together scientists, physicians, healthcare providers, thought-leaders, and industry partners, in a cohesive and unified approach with the goal of improving, and leading, care for sick and terminally ill children.
The unique environment of Stanford, and the Bay area, allows IRIS to leverage world-renowned science at Stanford University with the most cutting-edge technologies being developed in Silicon Valley to create forward-thinking translational approaches that can be implemented at Stanford Medical Centers. At Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital (LPCH), we have some of the world’s most technologically advanced and state-of-the-art operating suites for the treatment of sick children.
Our goal at IRIS is to push the boundaries of pediatric clinical care by developing new therapies and technologies in the laboratory and then seamlessly delivering these innovative treatments to children at LPCH, while always keeping the physical and mental wellbeing of the child and family at the center of our approach. Through our international collaborations and connections, our vision is to one day be able to disseminate these cutting-edge approaches and innovative therapies across the world to improve the care and wellbeing of all children who could benefit from what we have created at IRIS.
Over the years, the human body has become increasingly more transparent with medical imaging not only providing detailed anatomical information of organs, but also molecular information of processes occurring at a cellular level. Interventional Radiologists are a specialized group of physicians that are able to use this imaging information to obtain tissue samples (i.e. Precision Sampling) and/or treat diseases (i.e. Precision Therapy) using minimally invasive procedures.
Interventional Radiologists can access almost any part of the human body without the need for conventional open surgical techniques. As such, they are poised to change the way patients can be treated, given they can locally deliver drug, cell, and gene therapies directly to affected organs using image-guided endovascular (i.e. within blood vessels), endoluminal (i.e. within the bowel) or percutaneous (i.e. through the skin) approaches - This overcomes many of the issues related to conventional systemic delivery of therapies which includes: first-pass drug metabolism, off-target side effects, lung entrapment of cellular therapies and liver/spleen entrapment of nano- or micro-scale gene vector therapies. Our research also focuses on microenvironment modulation using innovative technologies to optimize the delivery, permeation and retention for stem cell therapies, thereby ensuring they reach their maximum clinical potential for organ regeneration and healing.
The IRIS program has been developed with 3 interconnected core initiatives: