Dr. Damian E. Dupuy – Pioneering Tumor Ablation 

The Journey of America’s Best Doctor in Advancing Minimally Invasive Procedures

Dr. Damian E. Dupuy discusses his groundbreaking work in tumor ablation, balancing roles in healthcare, and advice for aspiring healthcare entrepreneurs.

Damian E. Dupuy, MD, FACR, is a pioneering force in the realm of diagnostic imaging and tumor ablation, currently serving as the Director of Tumor Ablation at Cape Cod Hospital. With a remarkable career spanning several decades, Dr. Dupuy has consistently demonstrated his expertise in clinical research, medical devices, radiology, and oncology. His innovative contributions to the field have garnered him recognition as one of America’s Best Doctors from 2007 to 2020, reflecting his dedication to patient care and medical advancement.

Dr. Dupuy’s journey into the world of radiology and tumor ablation began during his medical education, where he was captivated by the potential of radiological technology to diagnose and treat a myriad of diseases. His early exposure to ablative technologies at Massachusetts General Hospital led to groundbreaking work, including the first documented lung cancer ablation in 1998. This milestone exemplifies his commitment to advancing minimally invasive procedures that offer cost-effective, outpatient solutions for cancer treatment.

Beyond his clinical prowess, Dr. Dupuy’s background in zoology and chemistry has profoundly influenced his approach to medical research and treatment development. His academic curiosity drives him to explore the anatomy and physiology of living organisms and the transformative impact of modern medicinal chemistry. His involvement in National Cancer Institute-funded multicenter trials underscores his dedication to improving cancer treatments and enhancing patient outcomes.

In addition to his clinical and research roles, Dr. Dupuy is an active contributor to the scientific community through his work with Theromics Inc. The company’s innovative ablation therapy technology, bolstered by a National Science Foundation Grant, highlights Dr. Dupuy’s entrepreneurial spirit and his ability to navigate the complex landscape of medical technology commercialization. Balancing his responsibilities as an Adjunct Professor at Brown University with his leadership roles at Cape Cod Hospital and Theromics, Dr. Dupuy exemplifies the harmonious blend of academic, clinical, and entrepreneurial endeavors.

In our interview, Dr. Dupuy shares invaluable insights on his career, the evolution of tumor ablation technology, and the keys to success in the healthcare industry. His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs underscores the importance of protecting intellectual property, conducting thorough market analyses, and building a team with a proven track record. Dr. Dupuy’s journey is a testament to the impact of passion, innovation, and dedication in transforming healthcare and improving lives.

What inspired you to pursue a career in diagnostic imaging and tumor ablation?

As a medical student I was enamored with radiology technology due to its ability to diagnose and treat so many diseases.  As a young faculty member at Massachusetts General Hospital, I was exposed to the early ablative technologies and saw a game changer in the making.  I did the first documented lung cancer ablation in the world in 1998 because of this exposure.  I quickly learned that there is no other more cost effective treatment that can kill a tumor in under 20 minutes during an outpatient, band aid procedure.

What are some of the key factors that have contributed to your recognition as one of America’s Best Doctors from 2007 to 2020?

As an interventional oncologist my job is to effectively explain the procedures I perform, including the pros and cons when appropriate.  It is equally important for me listen to a patient’s concerns and allay their fears in a caring and nonjudgmental fashion. This non-confrontational, nurturing type of interaction strengthens the patient/physician bond which is so important before, during and after their treatment.  In addition to my communication skills I also have years of experience performing these procedures.  Both attributes have led to my America’s Best Doctor award.

How has your background in zoology and chemistry influenced your approach to medical research and treatment development?

Studying the anatomy and physiology of living organisms and how modern medicinal chemistry has changed all of our lives fuels my academic curiosity. I desired to push the envelope in my field by analyzing the safety and effectiveness of cancer treatments through National Cancer Institute funded multicenter trials.  These trials encouraged me to engage in new discoveries to improve existing treatments that hopefully would help the health and wellbeing of mankind in the future.

 Can you share the significance of Theromics Inc. receiving a National Science Foundation Grant for your innovative ablation therapy technology?

The National Science Foundation is the oldest and most prestigious United States governmental agency that promotes scientific research.  One of their programs that is designed to fund and encourage the creation of innovative technologies from the private sector working alongside academia is the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. The process of obtaining this non-dilutive funding is arduous and lengthy.  Achieving both phase one and phase two funding is a herculean task and announces to the scientific community that we have a technology that is highly likely to be FDA approved and be a viable commercial entity.

 How do you balance your responsibilities as an Adjunct Professor at Brown University with your management roles at Cape Cod Hospital and Theromics?

Previously I had been a full-time Professor at Brown University and when I formed the company I transitioned into a part time adjunct professor working at 80% as an interventional oncologist in the community setting. This schedule allows me devote more time to be involved in my company’s activities.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who wants to start their own venture in health care industry?

Start-up biotech companies succeed about 25% of the time so before embarking on the long journey of commercialization make sure you file and protect the intellectual property, perform a thorough market analysis, and hire experienced professionals who have connections to funding sources as well as a track record of success in that arena.