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Julio Palmaz - Famous Inventor

: Julio Palmaz
: 13-December-1945
: Argentina
: University of California, Davis, National University of La Plata
: Doctor

About Inventor

Julio Palmaz (1945) is a doctor of vascular radiology at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He studied at the National University of La Plata in Argentina, earning his medical degree in 1971. He then practiced vascular radiology at the San Martin University Hospital in La Plata before moving to the University of Texas Health and Science Center at San Antonio. He is known for inventing the balloon-expandable stent, for which he received a patent filed in 1985. It was recognized in Intellectual Property International Magazine as one of "Ten Patents that Changed the World" in the last century. His early stent research artifacts are now part of the medical collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. He continues to innovate on his initial designs, developing new endovascular devices.

Education and Career

Palmaz received his M.D. in 1971 from the National University of La Plata, Argentina. He joined the San Martin University Hospital in La Plata to practice vascular radiology in 1974. He moved with his family to the United States in 1977 and spent three years training in radiology at the University of California at Davis' Martinez Veterans Administration Medical Center. He has worked as Chief of Angiography and Special Procedures in the radiology department at the University of Texas Health and Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) since 1983. He currently holds the Ashbel Smith Professorship as a tenured Professor at UTHSCSA.

Research Career

Palmaz succeeded in creating a model that he was able to test in animals, including pigs and rabbits, with promising results; he also began shopping the device around to medical companies, but the response was lukewarm.

In 1983, Dr. Stewart Reuter, Chair of Radiology at UTHSCSA and a mentor to Palmaz, encouraged him to accept a position at the center. Palmaz did so, in part because there he would have access to resources he needed to further his stent development. He eventually succeeded in creating a prototype of a stainless steel, insertable mesh stent that could be expanded once inside the body to hold a blood vessel or artery open and allow blood to flow more freely. He also secured funding from a somewhat unlikely partner: Phil Romano, an entrepreneur who founded restaurant chains such as Fuddruckers and The Macaroni Grill, offered to put up $250,000 in exchange for a stake in the product,which Palmaz began co-developing with Dr. Richard Schatz, a cardiologist at Brooke Army Medical Center.


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