September 30, 2008

Little Company of Mary Becomes First Hospital in the United States to Treat Breast Cancer in One Day Using Transportable Electronic Brachytherapy System

EVERGREEN PARK, Ill., Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The Comprehensive Breast Health Center at Little Company of Mary Hospital announced a breakthrough procedure that delivers a complete dose of radiation therapy in the operating room at the time of surgery (lumpectomy) for patients with early stage breast cancer. The first treatment was performed on a breast cancer patient as part of a clinical trial at the Hospital.

Marianne Howley, of Palos Park, underwent the procedure on September 3rd after being diagnosed with early stage breast cancer on August 22. Under the direction of Dr. Olga Ivanov, Medical Director for Little Company of Mary's Comprehensive Breast Health Center and Dr. Adam Dickler, Radiation Oncologist at Little Company of Mary Hospital, Marianne became the first patient to undergo the new treatment.

The treatment called IntraOperative Radiation Therapy (IORT) utilizing Xoft Inc.'s Axxent(R) Electronic Brachytherapy (eBx) System uses a miniaturized X-ray source that can deliver localized and targeted radiation treatment. Electronic Brachytherapy is designed to minimize radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue and is the only IORT technology that enables physicians and treating professionals to remain in the operating room with the patient.

Immediately after Ms. Howley underwent the lumpectomy, performed by Dr. Ivanov, Dr. Dickler delivered the radiation treatment directly to the surgical site in the operating room. When Marianne awoke, she not only had her tumor removed, but just completed her entire course of radiation therapy, which normally takes five to seven weeks.

"The fact that my treatment was done before I even woke up is beyond words," says Ms. Howley. "I want more women to know about this. I just can't believe how lucky I was to have this type of procedure available to me in my community."

Dr. Ivanov says, "Both the timely delivery and direct radiation treatment has tremendous potential to be highly effective in treating the cancer and reducing the chance for recurrence. And, what better way to complete your radiation therapy than while you are sleeping?"

Cleared by the FDA for the treatment of early stage breast cancer, the Xoft Axxent System is designed to deliver therapy directly to cancer sites with minimal radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. Studies have demonstrated that radiation therapy is an essential component of treatment for breast cancer when the patient wishes to conserve her breast with a lumpectomy as opposed to undergoing a full mastectomy. However, more recent studies have shown that many patients opt out of receiving breast sparing surgery with radiation therapy due to time, distance, or difficulty accessing radiation therapy centers.

Intraoperative treatment potentially reduces the time required for radiation therapy for early stage breast cancer by delivering it immediately during surgery. As a result, tens of thousands of patients will have greater access to therapy that is delivered more easily and conveniently. This may accelerate patient choice of breast sparing lumpectomy surgery with radiation therapy over the alternative of a full mastectomy.

"In addition to being more convenient for our patients, this method of radiation is focused to the part of the breast that is at the highest risk for recurrence. It is also delivered right at the time of surgery before any cancer cells left behind have a chance to grow," Dr. Dickler said. "Mark my words, this will be the standard of care for treatment of early stage breast cancer within the next five years," Dr. Ivanov concluded.

Marianne was officially declared cancer-free the moment she awoke from her surgery and was able to attend a wedding three days later. She will be added to the more than 100,000 yearly breast cancer survivors in the country.

Little Company of Mary's clinical study is for women who are over the age of 50 seeking treatment for early stage breast cancer. If you would like to learn more on whether you qualify for the IntraOperative Electronic Brachytherapy Radiation Treatment Study, please contact Dr. Dickler for a consultation at 708.229.5560 or Dr. Ivanov at 708.229.4050.

Little Company of Mary's Cancer Center is ranked in the top 27 percent of the nation's cancer programs accredited by the American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer. The Center offers highly skilled cancer specialists, the latest medical technologies for diagnosis and treatment, participation in clinical trials and a wide spectrum of support services. All cancer services are centered in a 33,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility located on the Hospital campus. The Comprehensive Breast Center offers women multidisciplinary breast health care with a Breast Health Team consisting of surgeons, radiologists, medical oncologists, pathologists, and genetic counselors in one convenient location.

Little Company of Mary Hospital

CONTACT: Elida Solis of Little Company of Mary Hospital,+1-708-229-5047, [email protected]

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