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Technological leap in prostate cancer treatment: Miniaturized plastic implants presented at ESTRO conference for the first time

Berlin, 21 September 2010. IBt Bebig, a Belgium-based subsidiary of Eckert & Ziegler AG (ISIN DE5659700), presented for the first time plastic implants for the treatment of prostate cancer - the first of their kinds worldwide - at the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ESTRO) Congress in Barcelona. They are easier to produce than traditional metal capsules and allow an even more precise dosing of the administered radiation. As the rice grain-sized mini implants can be combined with one another to very stable chains like lego bricks, the doctor is able to choose a dosage attuned to the respective patient. With spacers being used, the spaces between the active elements can be adjusted e.g. to unusual tumor shapes and thus an optimal dosage distribution can be achieved in the affected organ. The mini implants are planned to be introduced in Europe on a broad basis under the brand name SmartSeed® starting around the middle of 2011.

"We are convinced that with SmartSeed® we are able to further expand our market share in the field of permanent brachytherapy", says Dr. Edgar Löffler, member of the Board of Directors and responsible for the Therapy segment. "Moreover, this innovative product will open up markets in emerging countries that have been closed to us up to now. Plastic implants only need to be activated, i.e. be made radioactive, at the last stage of the value added chain and therefore they can also be exported profitable as an inactive product - in contrast to traditional implants that couldn't. This makes it easier to reach distance or insular markets."

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers among males. In Europe alone there are 135,000 new cases each year. Brachytherapy, i.e. studding the affected organ with tiny radioactive pins, has become a well-tried and very gentle form of treatment for early stages of prostate carcinomas. In the US already every third prostate cancer patient is treated this way. Long-term results show that patients with localized prostate carcinoma are treated just as effective and on average with fewer side effects than with other methods.

The Eckert & Ziegler Group is specialized in isotope technology components for radiotherapy and nuclear medicine. It has 540 employees worldwide and is one of Europe's largest providers of implants for prostate cancer treatment.

The Board of Directors