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Eckert & Ziegler sees potential in Breast Cancer Brachytherapy

Berlin, June 17, 2010 - The Berlin-based Eckert & Ziegler Strahlen- und Medizintechnik AG (ISIN DE0005659700), a firm specializing in medical use of radioactivity, today has announced through its Belgian subsidiary IBt BEBIG (International Brachytherapy S.A.) its first results on a radiobiological research program for monotherapy of early stage breast cancer utilizing permanent implant brachytherapy. Currently, the common treatment of early breast cancer involves breast conserving surgery followed with External Beam Radiotherapy (EBRT) of the entire breast. Data suggest that in properly selected patients there is no need for the whole breast irradiation. Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (APBI) is therefore investigated in clinical trials and might be even replaced by a monotherapy using permanent implant brachytherapy. For the patient, there is clearly a practical advantage to be treated by brachytherapy rather than by EBRT: a reduction of treatment time. A brachytherapy procedure is done in one day, while for EBRT patient needs to come 25 to 40 consecutive days for treatment sessions.

A scientific paper was published in June 2010 in The International Journal of Medical Physics (American Association of Physicists in Medicine) about the radiobiological investigation on dose and dose rate for permanent brachytherapy of breast using I-125 (Iodine) or Pd-103 (Palladium) sources (3). It addresses the question of what could be the appropriate dose and dose rate for permanent seed implants for breast cancer as monotherapy for early-stage breast cancer. Today permanent brachytherapy is mostly used to treat prostate cancer, but there are now more and more interests to use this treatment option also for early stage breast cancer. In 2007, IBt Bebig already partnered with the University Hospital of Liège (CHU), Belgium, to do a series of trials as described in a scientific paper published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology (4). "It seems that based on our physical and radiobiological study, it exist a window of opportunity for permanent implants with low energy sources for the partial breast irradiation of early stage breast cancer", said Prof. Dimos Baltas, Department of Medical Physics and Engineering, Strahlenklinik, Klinikum Offenbach GmbH. Professor Baltas is member of several national, European and international Organizations, Committees and Task Groups with a long track record in the field of research in brachytherapy. He is co-author of the Textbook "The Physics of Modern Brachytherapy for Oncology".

"This new report shows the growing interest towards permanent seed brachytherapy to cure cancer to other body site than only prostate. IBt Bebig is committed to help finding new ways to use brachytherapy as a treatment option. By doing so we fulfill completely our mission: Contributing to saving lives !", said Dr. Edgar Löffler, Managing Director of IBt Bebig and one of the authors of the report. "As worldwide there are around 0.8 million estimated new cases of prostate cancer per year and about 1.3 million new cases of breast cancer, there is a potential for IBt Bebig to basically double its market size" said Dr. Gunnar Mann, Managing Director of IBt Bebig. The Eckert & Ziegler Group, with around 520 employees, is one of the world's largest providers of isotope technology components for radiotherapy and nuclear medicine.

3) Dimos Baltas, Georgia Lymperopoulou, Edgar Löffler, Panayiotis Mavroidis, "A radiobiological investigation on dose and dose rate for permanent implant brachytherapy of breast using I-125 or Pd-103 sources", Medical Physics, Vol. 37, No. 6, June 2010. 4) N. Jansen, J. M. Deneufbourg, and P. Nickers, "Adjuvant stereotactic permanent seed breast implant: A boost series in view of partial breast irradiation," International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics, Volume 67, 1052-1058, March 2007.

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