Stephen Ellison

New Cancer Procedure Gifts Bay Area Couple 3 More Years Together

'It kept her alive and happy,' husband of 58 years says

A Bay Area couple had three more precious years together thanks to a new cancer treating procedure developed by a Los Altos company.

Arman Farmanian was married to the love of this life, Mary Jane, for 58 years. In 2014, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer and given just a few months to live. She died in 2017.

"Oh, she was just a wonderful girl, and we never argued in the whole time we were married," said Farmanian, who worked with his wife at Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale. "She fought like a champ. She was treated so well, you can't imagine."

While there is no cure for pancreatic cancer, the couple connected with doctors about a new procedure developed by Renovo RX.

"Pancreatic cancer is not that common; it's about 3 percent of all cancers," said Dr. Reza Malek, an interventional radiologist. "But it's one of the deadliest."

Malek is on the team that developed a procedure that delivers chemotherapy just to a pancreatic tumor, instead of across the entire body.

"Here we see a little blood vessel that goes and steals the chemotherapy," Malek said, showing how the procedure works. "So, here, we're moving the balloon back, inflating the balloons, and then the chemotherapy is between the two ports and kind of soaking the tumor with a high concentration of chemotherapy."

Malek says it has shown success in early studies of about 50 patients. Mary Jane was their first.

"It kept her alive and happy," Farmanian said. "Other than that, she would have wasted away like cancer usually does."

Mary Jane was given three months to live but survived three years. Farmanian says the procedure was invaluable.

"To have her one more day," he said, "it was worth it."

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