Prenuvo Full-Body MRI Scans & The Future of Preventative Care with Prenuvo CEO Andrew Lacy
Image: Andrew Lacy, Prenuvo
In this episode of the Ask Nurse Alice podcast, host Alice Benjamin sits down with Andrew Lacy, Founder and CEO of Prenuvo, a proactive, whole-body MRI screening for cancer and disease detection.
What inspired Prenuvo?
Lacy was inspired to create Prenuvo after processing his own journey with aging, saying he started feeling “less invincible with every year.” He quickly realized there wasn’t a comprehensive, early-detection testing method easily available to patients. After connecting with founding radiologist Dr. Raj Attariwala, Lacy discovered Prenuvo has power to transform patients’ access to preventative care and take control of their health. It then became his mission to find a way to bring Prenuvo to as many people as possible.
Prenuvo offers advanced, full-body MRI scans
Although MRI technology has been around for a long time, Lacy explains that the technology has advanced significantly over the past ten to fifteen years, making MRI machines faster than ever before. He says that Prenuvo MRIs produce images of clinical diagnostic quality in under an hour.
“That speed improvement really has enabled the possibility of using the latest and most advanced versions of these machines together with some clever software and increasingly AI to really tell a very comprehensive picture about our health like we were never able to before,” he tells Nurse Alice.
Lacy explains that there are two traditional ways to look for cancer in the body: a PET-CT and a contrast-based CT or MRI.
“The problem with both of these two techniques is they both involve radiation, and they both involve injection of something in the body. And fundamentally, that makes them not appropriate for a screening context, rather just a diagnostic context,” he explains in the episode.
The MRI technology used by Prenuvo is radiation- and contrast-free. It implements a technique called “diffusion” where the machine looks inside the body for “hard spots”, since tumor cells tend to be densely packed together and harder than the surrounding tissue.
Better data means individualized care
Nurse Alice notes that this type of technology could really change a provider’s ability to develop an individualized plan of care, saying, “With this type of technology and the benefits that it could have on so many people… I mean, it's less harmful, it's faster, better imaging, so better data collected. So, with better data collected, I should be able to–as a provider–provide more of an individualized plan of care. We could be more on the preventative or promotion, early identification side of things.”
Lacy says one of the goals of Prenuvo is to prove the technology’s effectiveness and to hopefully have it be a standard of preventative care one day. However, overcoming skepticism when it comes to new screening methods takes time. Lacy believes they are on the right track, however, with hundreds of physicians already referring patients to Prenuvo.
“I would say the most interesting observation from all of those relationships is how much time it saves them having to chase down symptoms and diagnose disease. And they can reinvest all that time in actually putting together health plans and helping people improve the trajectory of their health,” he tells Nurse Alice.
Early detection saves lives
Nurse Alice reflects on her time as an emergency room nurse practitioner, explaining her experiences with patients coming in with late-stage cancer.
“I sometimes think to myself, if we just had a better way of capturing this type of information, because our U.S. healthcare system is…we're overworked with less resources. We don't have a lot of time with patients. It's really in a tough spot. We want to do the best for our patients, but we don't always have enough time or the tools. But now with this type of tool, it sounds like this can really relieve much of the burden on healthcare providers,” she tells Lacy.
Locations and financial investment
Prenuvo is currently available in 8 cities in the U.S. and Canada: Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, Minneapolis, Chicago, Boca Raton, and New York City. Plans are underway to open two new locations in Atlanta and Washington D.C. later this year.
Prenuvo is not covered by insurance, but Lacy is hopeful that that will change soon. He explains that a physician referral is not strictly necessary and that patients are allowed to reach out to Prenuvo directly if they wish to receive the scan.
According to Lacy, the cost of a Prenuvo scan is between $999 and $2,499, depending on the type of scan performed. Prenuvo accepts FSA and HSA funds and they also offer payment plans.
While the price can be daunting, Nurse Alice encourages listeners not to underestimate the value of catching tumors or other issues in the early stages.
“I'm pretty sure if someone was asked a question, would you like to spend $2,000 or I cut off 10 years of your life because of a misdiagnosis? I mean, you wouldn't think twice about that, I think. And just even catching something early on, averting those symptoms, the medications that you'll have to take, the time off of work, the adverse effect on your life. I think that's where sometimes people lose sight of how important our health really is. That truly is our wealth. Because if you're not healthy, you can't go to work, you can't go to school, you can't really enjoy your quality of life,” she explains.
Lacy has graciously offered $300 off a Prenuvo scan for Ask Nurse Alice listeners! Visit www.prenuvo.com/nursealice to schedule your scan and receive the discount.
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