PALO ALTO, Calif. and ALPHARETTA, Georgia, July 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Varian Medical Systems, Inc. and Proxima Therapeutics, Inc. today announced an alliance to increase access to High-Dose-Rate (HDR) radiation therapy equipment for hospitals interested in offering partial breast irradiation to patients with early-stage breast cancer. Under the terms of the agreement, Proxima will become the exclusive third-party representative for Varian's recently FDA-cleared MammoSource(TM) HDR brachytherapy afterloader, developed specifically to work with Proxima's MammoSite(R) device for treating breast cancer with localized HDR brachytherapy. Varian's MammoSource afterloader will be made available to treatment centers on a fee-for-use basis, subject to minimums.
It has been shown that radiation following surgical removal of the cancer from the breast significantly reduces recurrence. This radiation can be delivered by external beam to the entire breast, external beam to a portion of the breast, or radioactive sources placed temporarily near the tumor site. A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (August 2003) demonstrated that after five years, certain selected patients treated with partial breast irradiation demonstrated a local recurrence rate that was similar to that of patients treated with whole breast radiation.
"The novel fee-for-use arrangement we are offering in conjunction with Proxima responds to the needs of cancer centers that are seeking a cost-effective solution for offering partial breast irradiation following lumpectomy," said William Hyatt, general manager of Varian's BrachyTherapy business. "In addition, the MammoSource system is specifically designed to reduce the capital cost barriers often faced by hospitals wishing to offer patients access to this accelerated, five-day radiation therapy."
The MammoSource afterloader is more affordable than traditional HDR afterloaders, which incorporate up to 24 channels for delivering more complex forms of brachytherapy. Varian developed the MammoSource HDR afterloader to deliver radiation through a single channel, consistent with MammoSite's single balloon catheter design. MammoSource is powered by Varian's BrachyVision(TM) software, a state-of-the-art HDR brachytherapy treatment planning system.
"This agreement with Varian, the world's leading radiation therapy systems provider, allows hospitals interested in offering partial breast irradiation unprecedented access to the HDR equipment," said Timothy J. Patrick, president and CEO of Proxima Therapeutics. "The MammoSource design is based on Varian's proven technology, supplemented by a state-of-the-art treatment planning system and an established customer service support infrastructure."
The MammoSite device is a minimally invasive balloon catheter that is inserted into the cavity created by a lumpectomy. During a five-day course of therapy, a tiny radioactive seed attached to a wire is inserted into the balloon, delivering prescribed levels of radiation under precise computer control to the targeted tissue surrounding the cavity. No source of radiation remains in the patient's body between treatments or after the final procedure. The American Society of Breast Surgeons is currently managing a MammoSite Patient Registry that now includes more than 1,000 patients. Safety and performance of MammoSite for delivery of internal radiation were evaluated in a multi-center study, which involved women with early-stage breast cancer. The results of the study were published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics (February 2003). For a list of current treatment centers, refer to http://www.mammosite.com/.
About Varian Medical Systems, Inc.
Varian Medical Systems, Inc., of Palo Alto, California is the world's leading manufacturer of integrated cancer therapy systems, which are treating thousands of patients per day. The company is also a premier supplier of X-ray tubes and flat-panel digital subsystems for imaging in medical, scientific, and industrial applications. Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 3,160 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America and Europe and in its 56 sales and support offices around the world. In its most recent fiscal year ended September 26, 2003, Varian Medical Systems reported sales of $1 billion. For more information, visit http://www.varian.com/. (VBT 016)
About Proxima Therapeutics, Inc.
Based in Alpharetta, Ga., Proxima Therapeutics, Inc. is a privately held medical device company established in 1995 to develop site-specific cancer treatment systems for breast and brain tumors. Products include GliaSite RTS for brain cancer and MammoSite RTS for breast cancer. Additional information is available on the company's Web site at http://www.proximatherapeutics.com/. Physicians and patients may call 1-86-MAMMOSITE (1-866-266-6748) for more information.
NOTE: MammoSource is a trademark of Varian Medical Systems, Inc. MammoSite is a trademark of Proxima Therapeutics, Inc.
CONTACT: Wendy Williams, or Liza Heapes, both of Schwartz Communications, +1-781-684-0770, or firstname.lastname@example.org, for Proxima Therapeutics, Inc.; or Meryl Ginsberg of Varian Medical Systems, +1-650-424-6444, or email@example.com.
Varian Medical Systems, Inc.