Five new United States hospitals to acquire CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery System

Sunnyvale 11 March 2003Five new contracts have been signed for the purchase and placement of Accuray's CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery System. The new sales include Atlantic Health System in Summit, New Jersey; Wellmont Bristol Regional Medical Center in Bristol, Tennessee; and the CyberKnife Center of the Americas LLC in Miami, Florida. New placement contracts were signed with Sinai Hospital of Baltimore in Maryland and St. Joseph's Hospital, a member of HealthEast Care System in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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Under the placement programme, the hospitals will partner with Accuray in a revenue/risk-share business arrangement. Installation at all five sites is expected to be complete in 2003, bringing the total number of CyberKnife sites in the United States to 17. The CyberKnife is a robotic radiosurgery device that incorporates image-guidance to non-invasively ablate tumours and other lesions in the body through the precise delivery of multiple beams of high energy x-rays.

The addition of the new sites across the United States increases the CyberKnife's geographical presence in the Midwest and East Coast, and continues the trend of a growing number of community hospital networks and private corporations outside of academic medical centres, who are acquiring CyberKnife technology. All of the hospitals plan to utilise the CyberKnife for traditional neurosurgical applications in the brain as well as for radiosurgery for lesions or tumours of the spine and spinal cord, an application not feasible with other existing radiosurgical technology. Expansion to other clinical targets in the body such as tumours of the lung is also planned at these sites.

Vice President at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Ida Samet, stated: "We are excited to be the first Maryland-based health care system to offer CyberKnife treatment to patients. As an integral addition to our new Spine Center at Sinai and the Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute, the CyberKnife secures our standing as one of the premier health care providers offering comprehensive neurosurgical and neuro-oncological services in the state of Maryland. We look forward to partnering with Accuray to bring the latest in non-invasive surgical technology to our community."

"After careful review of existing radiosurgical technologies on the market, we chose the CyberKnife for our centre. We believe the frameless CyberKnife is the ideal radiosurgical tool given its flexibility and greater range of potential clinical applications, compared to frame-based systems", commented James G. Schwade, M.D., Director of the CyberKnife Center of the Americas.

"Most important is patient comfort. By eliminating the use of a bone fixed frame, patient pain is eliminated and anxiety significantly reduced. The CyberKnife also offers more patients a non-invasive alternative to open surgery in other areas of the body. The procedure is painless and performed on an outpatient basis without the complications of open surgery. We are very pleased to bring this technology to our patients in Florida." Dr. Schwade is currently Clinical Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Miami School of Medicine, where he previously also served as Chairman of the department.

Scott Batulis, CEO of St. Joseph's Hospital, stated: "The CyberKnife represents a profound breakthrough in treating the most serious lesions of the brain and spine. It is a miraculous treatment option. It is very rarely that our hospital has the chance to make an investment in technology that will allow doctors to save dozens of lives each year, while dramatically reducing the length, cost and medical risk of treatments for hundreds of others. St. Joseph's Hospital is about to celebrate 150-years of service to the community, and a distinguished history of introducing medical advances and life-saving treatments. It is highly fitting that St. Joseph's will be the hospital to bring the first CyberKnife to the upper Midwest."

Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Accuray, Thierry Thaure, added: "Our sales momentum has been tremendous as demonstrated by the numerous contracts which have been closed in recent months. Clinical results from our existing sites continue to demonstrate that the CyberKnife is a safe and feasible method of performing extracranial radiosurgery. As a result, we believe these new markets will continue to drive the rapid adoption of this technology across the United States."

The CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery System is a non-invasive radiosurgery device that can ablate tumours and other lesions without open surgery. It delivers multiple beams of precisely directed radiation that converge upon the tumour while minimising injury to surrounding healthy tissue. The CyberKnife is the only system that integrates image-guidance and robotic delivery of radiation. Existing conventional systems rely on an external metal frame attached to the skull for target localisation, which limits their application to lesions in the head. The CyberKnife uses internal reference points in the anatomy, so-called skeletal landmarks or small implanted markers, to enable frameless treatment of lesions anywhere in the body.

The unique CyberKnife technology was developed in co-operation with Stanford University and was cleared by the FDA in August 2001 to provide radiosurgery for lesions anywhere in the body when radiation treatment is indicated. To date, the CyberKnife has been used to treat more than 4500 patients worldwide. CyberKnife treats in single session or staged - typically 3 to 5 - sessions and incorporates logic that precisely corrects for patient movement during actual treatment delivery. The level of accuracy achievable by the system allows high doses of radiation to be used, which provides the potential for greater tumour-killing efficacy and greater likelihood of cure.

Through the development and promotion of the CyberKnife system and participation in ongoing clinical research at prominent academic hospitals, Accuray will help make stereotactic radiosurgery a viable and accessible option for patients all over the world. More news is available in the VMW February 2003 article Image-guided spine radiosurgery success at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.


Leslie Versweyveld

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