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ITU Presents: Innovation, Medical Treatments, and Dr. James F. Dempsey


To kick off 2015, we hosted out first ITU Presents of the New Year. We were very lucky to host Viewray founder and Chief Science Officer (CSO), Dr. James F. Dempsey. He shared his work in the cancer treatment field, and discussed his views on staying innovate as your company grows.

The all-encompassing lecture offered students and guests a chance to get in-depth industry knowledge. As an inventor, Dr. Dempsey explained how he created a new device for cancer radiation therapy; as a startup founder, he detailed how business owners could leverage an entrepreneurial spirit while growing their company.

Establishing a New Way to Treat Cancer

Dr. Dempsey’s presentation was highlighted by a discussion of his MRIdian Radiation Therapy System. The MRI machine allows doctors to more accurately track, and treat, cancerous tumors in the human body. According to Dr. Dempsey, the system offers doctors a real-time way to treat cancer patients. The system collects a four frame per-second video feed that doctors use to proactively perform radiation therapy on cancerous tumors.

Previous MRI treatments would only show doctors a single photo that would be used to perform radiation doses over multiple weeks. The problem with traditional treatment is that during treatment weeks, the tumor will move. What makes Dr. Dempsey’s invention unique is that MRIdian is capable of showing doctors where a tumor is, not where it was. The system has already been set up in top hospitals like UCLA Medical Center and University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center.

Innovation at a Growing Company

Dr. Dempsey started Viewray using a variety of venture capital from investors in both tech and medical fields. Since he started the company, Viewray has grown exponentially on the back of the MRIdian system. As his company has grown, he has continued to push for the firm to keep a hold of the startup atmosphere.

According to his philosophy, a company needs to have the right investors to truly succeed in the long term. During his presentation, he said: “It’s all about finding the right investors that will give you the ability to grow.” To that end, Dr. Dempsey has established Viewray with a board of directors that will allow the company to have a separate department in research and development, whose job it is to find the big answers that will propel the company into the future.

Learn More

Dr. Dempsey’s presentation came as part of our continuing ITU Presents lecture series. The series brings a variety of experts in the field to discuss topics as broad ranging as stop-motion animation and environmentalism. To RSVP for upcoming ITU Presents, please visit our Eventbrite page.