(ARAY) Accuray Presents Promising CyberKnife Radiosurgery Data

Leading radiosurgery systems maker Accuray Incorporated (ARAY) has presented encouraging new clinical data highlighting the benefits of its popular CyberKnife radiosurgery system and its recently acquired TomoTherapy radiation therapy system in treating a vast continuum of lung cancer patients.

The data was presented at the World Conference on Lung Cancer (“WCLC”), which took place in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, between July 3 and 7, 2011. WCLC, hosted by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (“IASLC”), is the leading international forum for lung cancer and thoracic oncology research and practice. IASLC is the only global organization dedicated to the study of lung cancer.

The CyberKnife system delivers ablative doses of radiation to lung tumors with the highest levels of accuracy. Moreover, the TomoTherapy system delivers high quality intensity modulated radiation therapy (“IMRT”) for larger, complex tumors as well as destructive radiation doses for smaller peripheral lung tumors.

Accuray presented data from two clinical studies, conducted in The Netherlands, at the WCLC that showcase the ability of the CyberKnife and TomoTherapy systems to deliver stereotactic body radiotherapy (“SBRT”), a non-invasive radiotherapy procedure, for primary lung cancer and lung metastases.

The first study, in which 89 patients were treated with the TomoTherapy system, revealed high rates of local tumor control with low toxicity in a heterogeneous group of patients. Many of these patients had previously undergone surgery or conventional radiotherapy. Two-year progression free survival in this study was 95%.

The second study evaluated the effectiveness of the CyberKnife system in treating 56 patients with metastatic lung tumors with many having multiple tumors. The researchers leveraged CyberKnife’s unique tumor tracking and robotic correcting capabilities to quickly deliver high doses of radiation therapy to attain high rates of tumor control with low side effects irrespective of tumor location. The results suggest the effectiveness of these therapies in extending treatments options for lung cancer patients.

Accuray is a global leader in the field of radiosurgery and provides a non-surgical treatment option for patients diagnosed with cancer. The company completed the acquisition of its rival TomoTherapy in June 2011 for $277 million. The acquisition bolsters Accuray’s foothold in the radiation oncology space.

The CyberKnife system is a non-invasive alternative to traditional surgery and is the first and only commercially available intelligent robotic radiosurgery system designed to treat solid tumors anywhere in the body. Patients can be treated with CyberKnife without anesthesia and without the risks and complications inherent in traditional surgery.

CyberKnife boasts of a technology that differentiates it from traditional treatments. It combines continuous image-guidance technology with a compact linear accelerator that has the ability to move in three dimensions according to the treatment plan. CyberKnife systems continue to gain significant traction in the global medical community, thereby boosting Accuray’s sales. More than 100,000 people have been already treated with the system globally.

While Accuray is expected to benefit from the gradual recovery in hospital capital equipment spending, it remains susceptible to reimbursement uncertainties surrounding its products. Moreover, its CyberKnife robotic radiosurgery systems face a stiff challenge from competitive product offerings of  Varian Medical (VAR). Currently, we are Neutral on the stock.

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