GRAND RAPIDS — After launching an advanced diagnostic and treatment clinic in Grand Rapids, BAMF Health Inc. is already looking to expand to Detroit.
The Grand Rapids-based BAMF Health has begun evaluating locations and talking with potential partners in the Detroit area for a second clinic. The facility would combine radiopharmaceuticals, molecular imaging and artificial intelligence to diagnose and precisely target radiation therapy for tumors and customize a patient’s treatment.
“We’re going to start from West Michigan and we’re going to extend to other places to serve more patients,” BAMF Health founder and CEO Dr. Anthony Chang said during a Wednesday afternoon event to celebrate the opening of the flagship clinic in downtown Grand Rapids. “We’re going to save millions of lives.”
Chang envisions developing a series of clinics across the U.S. in the years ahead. He has plans for a smaller clinic at Loma Linda University in California.
BAMF Health launched the Grand Rapids clinic on Aug. 2 when it performed its first diagnostic scan on a cancer patient at the $40 million Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building on Michigan State University’s Grand Rapids Innovation Park research campus along Medical Mile.
The clinic has been steadily ramping up operations in phases and aims to become fully operational in early 2023.
The technology behind the therapy that BAMF Health offers enables oncologists to treat tumors more precisely and effectively, attacking just the cancer cells and without damaging tissue surrounding the tumor and with far less side effects for the patient than with traditional chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
The Grand Rapids facility is the first clinic of its kind in the U.S. to offer the advanced cancer treatment that Chang saw deployed in Germany to treat patients with prostate and metastatic neuroendocrine cancers.
BAMF Health plans to also host clinical trials at the clinic and wants to extend the medical technology’s use to diagnose and treat other forms of cancer — breast, brain, colon and lung — and neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
“Today with this world-class, world-first facility in Grand Rapids, we’re going to revolutionize the new age of medicine. We’re going to start a new age of medicine,” Chang said. “We’re here in Grand Rapids ready to make a grand and a rapid impact.”
At Wednesday’s event, Doug Meijer spoke of how he traveled to Germany for treatment after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer about five years ago. His “cancer journey” connected him with Chang, leading him to support bringing the therapy that he received in Germany to the U.S.
“In Germany, we had to be quarantined for two days, so I had a lot of time to just think and reflect on life and thinking after two, three, four trips to Germany that this doesn’t seem right. We live in the best country in the world, and I was fortunate and blessed enough to have the means to go over to Germany and get cancer treatment, where the bulk of the population doesn’t,” Meijer said.
Chang accompanied him on his trips to Germany. After his treatment, they had dinner one night with Meijer’s German physician and began discussing bringing the therapy to “the last piece of ground on the Medical Mile” in Grand Rapids in partnership with MSU, he said.
“One thing led to another,” Meijer said. “We were able to put this together literally from concept, to idea, to now treating patients within five years, which truly is remarkable.
“It truly is remarkable medicine.”