Mississippi Baptist and Georgetown University Hospital to acquire Accuray's CyberKnife System

Sunnyvale 31 January 2005Baptist Cancer Services, a division of Mississippi Baptist Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi, has acquired the CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery System, the only such system approved by the FDA for tumour treatment anywhere in the body. Treatments will begin the week of January 24, 2005. Baptist Cancer Services will have the only system of this kind in the four-state area of Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. In the meanwhile Georgetown University Hospital in Washington D.C. has purchased a second CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery System for its Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. This acquisition represents the 50th CyberKnife System purchased in the United States.

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The additional system will allow Georgetown University Hospital to meet an increasing demand for CyberKnife treatments. Georgetown's CyberKnife Programme has nearly doubled from 146 patients in the first year to more than 250 new patients in the second year. A growing number of hospitals such as Georgetown rely on the CyberKnife System as an essential tool in their cancer treatment procedures.

"The 50th purchase contract for the CyberKnife System is indicative of Accuray's continued success as a business and it affirms our vision of transforming cancer treatments in ways that increase patient comfort, expand treatment options and improve outcomes", remarked Euan Thomson, Ph.D., President and CEO of Accuray Incorporated. "This purchase represents yet another milestone in our successful progress, standing alongside such achievements as passing the 10.000 mark in the number of patients treated worldwide. We are thrilled that Georgetown University Hospital has had such success using the CyberKnife to treat patients, and delighted that it is the site of our 50th system."

Linda Winger, Vice President, Georgetown University Hospital, stated: "In early 2002, Georgetown University Hospital saw the potential of the CyberKnife technology to address the needs of patients whose cancers couldn't be treated by traditional radiosurgery systems. Over the past three years, we have fully realized this vision, using the CyberKnife to successfully treat hundreds of cranial and spinal tumours, as well as more than 50 lung, pancreas and liver tumours, many of which would have been diagnosed as inoperable in years past."

"The CyberKnife System continues to surpass our expectations", stated Fraser Henderson, M.D. "The CyberKnife provides robust management of pain, improves quality of life, and offers new treatment options for previously untreatable cancers of the spine, and also chest, abdomen and pelvis. We are exploring new ways in which this highly accurate modality can be used synergistically with chemotherapy and immunotherapy."

Georgetown University Hospital began treating patients with the CyberKnife System early in 2002. Since that time, the hospital has augmented its core CyberKnife System with the Synchrony Respiratory Tracking System from Accuray. Synchrony is the first technology with the ability to continuously track and irradiate targets that move with respiration. An extraordinary advance in cancer treatment, dynamic radiosurgery allows physicians to use much tighter margins to treat tumours, with increased radiation doses. The result is that healthy tissues surrounding tumours are minimally affected, and patients can be treated in fewer sessions rather than multiple treatments spread out over a period of weeks. These technological improvements and advances greatly expand the horizons of cancer treatment.

At Baptist Cancer Services in Mississippi, the CyberKnife will allow physicians to treat tumours using stereotactic technology anywhere radiation therapy is needed, including the brain, spine, lung, pancreas and other areas, even some that have been deemed inoperable. In addition, this technology can be used to treat other disorders such as trigeminal neuralgia and arteriovenous malformation.

Baptist Radiation Oncologist Richard Friedman, M.D. stated: "This 21st century technology gives physicians one more tool to fight cancer and other diseases in an effective, safe, and painless manner. There is no other system that can do what the CyberKnife can do, making Baptist one of a handful of sites in the United States where this exciting advance in medicine can be offered to our patients."

The CyberKnife delivers radiation with precision so great it could split the point of a pin and treats tumours anywhere in the body without damaging surrounding tissue. It combines a compact, lightweight linear accelerator mounted on a robotic arm, with image guided technology that tracks tumour location - in real time - without requiring the patient to wear a head frame. The system acquires new images and transmits any position corrections to the robotic arm before delivering each new dose. It is the only system that monitors and tracks patient position continually during treatment. No major surgery is required. Following treatment, the patient goes home, with no need for recovery time.

"Having the CyberKnife at Baptist gives us the most advanced treatment system for radiosurgically treatable conditions of the entire nervous system and spine", stated Baptist Neurosurgeon Moses Jones, M.D. Baptist Cancer Services is the first and only organisation in the United States to achieved Disease-Specific Care Certification from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) for an entire cancer programme.

Accuray Incorporated also has completed the purchase of certain assets of the High Energy Systems Division (HES) of American Science and Engineering (AS&E) Inc. This transaction gives Accuray exclusive rights to manufacture, market and sell X-band linear accelerators for medical applications. As such, Accuray now has full control over the technology and production of the X-band linear accelerator systems used in its CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery System. X-band linear accelerators are a sub-system of the CyberKnife and are used to produce the radiation beam that destroys cancer cells.

"With this transaction Accuray gains increased control over its supply chain and enters in a new phase of growth", stated Chris Raanes, Chief Operating Officer of Accuray. "Bringing this production capability in-house will lower our cost of doing business and allows us to optimize product performance. Moreover, the new employees joining Accuray will complement our already strong research and development efforts and help us to continue delivering innovative, clinically effective products to our customers."

"After maintaining a great relationship with AS&E over many years, all of us here are delighted to welcome members of the HES team to Accuray", stated Euan Thomson. "Accuray has proven the efficacy of full-body radiosurgery, and with this purchase we gain exclusive access to the technological expertise that will enable us to create new features and maintain our position at the forefront of this exciting new field. It is a move that is indicative of our current success and our leadership role in the industry."

The CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery System is a non-invasive, 100 percent frameless image-guided radiosurgery system that ablates tumours and other lesions anywhere in the body without invasive surgery. The CyberKnife System treats in single or staged - typically 2-5 - sessions, and monitors internal reference points in the anatomy - skeletal landmarks or small implanted markers - to correct for patient movement in real time during actual treatment. It delivers multiple beams of precisely directed radiation that converge upon the tumour while minimizing injury to surrounding healthy tissue. It is the only system in the world that integrates real-time image guidance and robotic delivery of radiation to deliver proven sub-millimeter "total clinical accuracy".

The unique CyberKnife technology was developed in co-operation with Stanford University. The CyberKnife is 510(k) cleared by the FDA in the United States and has CE approval in Europe to treat anywhere in the body when radiation treatment is indicated. To date, the CyberKnife System has treated over 10.000 patients worldwide.

Accuray is a privately held corporation dedicated to revolutionizing the treatment of solid cancer tumours anywhere in the body by the precise delivery of high doses of radiation using the CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery System. Through the development and marketing of the CyberKnife System, and participation in ongoing clinical research at prominent hospitals, Accuray and its customers are making stereotactic radiosurgery a viable and accessible option for cancer patients worldwide. More news on the CyberKnife System is available in this VMW issue's article Respected surgeon predicts major change in lung cancer treatment.


Leslie Versweyveld

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