To be a pioneer means to “develop or be the first to use or apply (a new method, area of knowledge, or activity)”. As such, Paul Stauffer, an essential part of Project Hope’s Advisory Team, is truly a pioneer in the field of thermobrachytherapy.
Paul Stauffer and Thermobrachytherapy
Paul Stauffer began his research over 40 years ago. His specific expertise and training in clinical engineering and radiation oncology in addition to his drive to serve others opened the way for Project Hope.
Although Paul began his career in electrical engineering, he soon discovered that serving others was his path. For example, in the 1970s, his first paid job was building the electrical control devices on wheelchairs meant for physically challenged people. Paul immediately saw the benefits and felt a connection to serving others. When given the opportunity to work in a Radiation Oncology department designing new equipment, he jumped at the chance to apply his training in electrical and clinical engineering to help cancer patients. As such, his graduate school training solidified his movement into oncology.
Paul began working to combine developments in thermal physics and radiation brachytherapy to enhance clinical outcomes. Ensuing research demonstrated that his pioneering efforts did improve patient lives. Subsequently, University of California San Francisco recruited Paul to help start up a Hyperthermia program at UCSF by leading a new Hyperthermia Physics team to generate novel devices and techniques for new sites of the body that had not been accessible to thermal therapy previously.
A Leader in Thermobrachytherapy
For 23 years at UCSF, Stauffer maintained a research laboratory with continuous NIH funding supporting the clinical Hyperthermia program as a Medical Physicist. Major projects included development and evaluation in laboratory and clinical trials of microwave helical coil antennas, magnetic field coupled ferromagnetic seeds, and radiofrequency electrodes for all for interstitial hyperthermia, among a suite of other clinical research developments.
In 2006, Stauffer relocated to Duke University as a professor and Director of Hyperthermia Physics and Engineering. He led the thermal therapy research team investigating magnetic resonance image guided radiofrequency deep hyperthermia, non-invasive thermometry with microwave radiometry, and conformal array microwave applicators for large area superficial hyperthermia among other projects.
In 2013, Thomas Jefferson University recruited him to help start up another Thermal Oncology program where he become Director of Thermal Oncology Physics and continued his development research on improved coupling of microwave antennas to contoured anatomy and initiated research on Thermobrachytherapy balloon implants. Paul currently serves on the Advisory Team for Project Hope where he continues to oversee hyperthermia device development research.
A Unique Function
Over the past decades, Paul discovered something most essential for bringing novel life-saving devices to the world. He found that business and innovation research need to walk hand-in-hand. In his words he states, “business has a critically important role to play to bring device innovations into clinical practice to the benefit of patients”. As such, MAE Group is leading the development of Project Hope to bring thermobrachytherapy to patients and families suffering from glioblastoma and other forms of cancer.