Brothers, doctors from The Woodlands seek patents on ketamine protocol for treatment of chronic pain, depression

By: Kim Kyle Morgan, Woodlands Online
| Published 09/13/2018

Dr. Cannon Clifton prepares an IV for a ketamine infusion patient
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THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- Cannon and Bryan Clifton grew up in The Woodlands, graduated from McCullough, and then went on to become board-certified anesthesiologists who both now practice in San Antonio.

But the brothers have made a new mark in their hometown with the opening of Kalypso Wellness Centers in The Woodlands.

The Cliftons, along with two board-certified pain management physicians (Dr. Mark Moran and Dr. Scott Worrich) were tired of seeing patients in constant pain or debilitated by prescription narcotics. They came across a way to treat these patients with ketamine, a drug that has been used as an anesthetic in operating rooms for more than 50 years.

"A couple of years ago, an original paper came out from Yale about a psychiatrist that started looking at ketamine as a way of treating veterans with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and discovered it helped the veterans with physical aches and pains as well," Cannon said. "The psychiatrist then talked to an anesthesiologist, who told him that makes perfect sense because we use ketamine all the time. When I read that article, I showed it to my brother, and we thought this might be something really interesting and exciting."

Used in low doses and administered intravenously, ketamine has been shown to help patients with depression, bipolar disorder; inflammatory, neuropathic, cancer or chronic pain; PTSD, migraines and more.

But Cannon and Bryan wanted to find a way to make it even better – that is, higher efficacy rates and fewer side effects. They said their results were so promising that Kalypso is in the process of securing patents for its various ketamine formulations.

"We decided that now is the right time to patent our process because we feel that our formulations and treatment methods provide patients with a better experience," Bryan said in a press release. "Our infusions take an hour and most patients see benefits after their first treatment. Kalypso RESET formulations have demonstrated an 85-95 percent clinical efficacy rate, and an adverse side effect rate of less than five percent."

Bryan said patient safety and protocol is also a high priority.

"We want to ensure that there is a standard that people adhere to as it relates to administrating ketamine treatments and how they should properly use our formulations," he said.

Kalypso Wellness Centers currently has five managed locations: The Woodlands, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, North Carolina and New York.

Combined, the centers have administered more than 3,500 infusions.

One of the first patients was Bryan and Cannon's father Jim, who suffered occasional flashbacks from two tours in Vietnam.

"He's had two infusions, more than two years ago, and since then he hasn't had a flashback," Cannon said.

"That's the most rewarding part of all of this -- patients coming back and saying 'I got my life back'."

Cannon, Bryan and Jim Clifton

Cannon, 44, completed medical school and residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He is currently the Chief of Anesthesia at a major hospital in San Antonio.

Cannon is also a professional engineer. He earned his degree from Kansas State University, but after five years working as a chemical engineer, he decided to join his brother in the medical field.

Bryan, 46, knew he wanted to be in the medical field from a young age.

"I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was little," Bryan said. "As early as age 4, I took in a stray duck. Growing up, I was in sports and got hurt quite a bit. At some point I realized doctors do for people what vets do for animals, and thought it would sure be a lot easier if someone could actually tell you what's wrong with them."

Bryan completed medical school and residency at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He is also the Chief of Anesthesia at a major hospital in San Antonio.

The brothers plan to continue working together for many years, whether in The Woodlands or San Antonio.

"My brother and I have always wanted to do something together, live close together and be family together," Bryan said. "And now we have this new partnership together."

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