Xoft showcases advances in brachytherapy, new deal with Varian
Xoft Inc., a developer of new radiation oncology technologies through Electronic Brachytherapy, last week had on display its first therapy system the Axxent Electronic Brachytherapy System at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) annual meeting in Denver, Colo. The Axxent System is pending FDA clearance.

The Axxent Electronic Brachytherapy System uses disposable micro-miniature x-ray radiation sources to deliver ionizing radiation treatment directly to tumor beds. The miniature x-ray technology is essentially the heart of the system, said Marga Ortigas-Wedekind, VP, marketing and development, Xoft. The core innovation of the system is the ability to miniaturize an x-ray tube down to this size, and power it with such high voltage with dose distribution that is very uniform, added Ortigas-Wedekind.
Xoft believes that this approach to therapy will be revolutionary for cancer treatment centers that have not had access to HDR (high dose radiation therapy) due to the problems commonly associated with the treatments, such as cost and regulatory concerns, and also ways to contain the radiation in what is usually called. For example, a shielded bunker is needed in a facility in order to accommodate a radioactive source, and special licensing from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) or other state regulatory body is required, said Ortigas-Wedekind. The Axxent treatment platform eliminates the need for shielded bunkers, and can be used in virtually any clinical setting under the supervision of a radiation oncologist.

Most importantly, however, is access to the treatment for patients that currently do not have it, at least not locally. Xoft's hope is that the Axxent will bring the treatment to the patient.

"The inconvenience of having to travel far from their homes to get HDR treatments often minimizes patient compliance," said Ortigas-Wedekind, citing a recent study that showed a direct correlation between a patient's choice treatment and proximity to the treatment center.

The other good news is that the treatment time will be reduced in many instances. Where with traditional HDR treatment could run a course of 5 to 7 weeks, Axxent can be used to deliver a course of radiation therapy for early stage breast cancer in five days, Xoft said.

The treatment system could also change the way patients chose treatments between breast sparing lumpectomy surgery with adjuvant radiation therapy over the alternative of a full mastectomy.

Beyond these initial advances, Xoft's ambition to do everything an isotope can do but do it better in a more convenient way, said Ortigas-Wedekind. Down the road the company is looking to further emulate other types of treatments to similarly make them more efficient and more broadly available.

At ASTRO, Xoft also provided details regarding its freshly inked software distribution agreement with Varian Medical Systems. Under the three-year agreement, Xoft will sell its Axxent Electronic Brachytherapy Source product with Varian's BrachyVision Treatment Planning Software. The Varian system will support the treatment parameters that characterize the Axxent Electronic Brachytherapy Source.