Eckert & Ziegler acquires leading manufacturer of brachytherapy accessories
The purchase of MRNI represents another important bridgehead for Eckert & Ziegler's entry into the US market and complements the recent acquisition of the brachytherapy division of the US company Biocompatibles, Inc. just a few weeks ago, Eckert & Ziegler reported that it had bought the division, rounding out its product portfolio in the area of prostate cancer therapy and gaining an experienced sales team for the North American market.
Felix Mick, a Swiss engineer and one of the pioneers in the use of radioisotopes for treating cancer (brachytherapy), laid the foundations for MRNI in New York in the 1970s. With the help of Dr. Ulrich Henschke, a radiation oncologist and pioneer in afterloading technology, he developed brachytherapy into an effective treatment option for numerous forms of cancer. MRNI began as a small manufacturing unit in the Bronx and is now the leading manufacturer of applicators. Felix Mick's contribution to this form of therapy has become legendary.
Around 10% of cancer patients worldwide are treated with brachytherapy, a method in which a radioactive source is placed inside or near the area to be irradiated in the body.
"MRNI is an acclaimed market leader that has an extensive portfolio of patents and offers a high level of innovation in the field of brachytherapy applicators," explained Dr. Edgar Löffler, Managing Director of Eckert & Ziegler BEBIG s.a. and Member of the Executive Board at Eckert & Ziegler AG. "The acquisition of the brachytherapy division at Biocompatibles Inc. and MRNI, whose clients include all companies and hospitals in the field of brachytherapy, has provided a huge boost for our sales strategy in the US," Löffler added.
Felix Mick will continue to support Eckert & Ziegler BEBIG as a technological consultant.
Afterloading is a form of robot-assisted radiotherapy that involves placing a small radioactive source directly into the affected organ. In cervical cancer, for example, the physician inserts a special hollow tube ‒ the applicator ‒ into the patient's vagina until it reaches the tumor. The applicator is connected to the afterloading equipment by a tube, which contains the miniaturized radioactive source. After that, the physician checks (e.g. with an ultrasound or a CT/MRI) whether the applicator is in the correct position. The physician and medical staff can then leave the treatment room and begin the actual irradiation from the next room. The radiation source passes through the tube to the applicator via a highly flexible cable. Once in position, the afterloader is programmed to direct the source at the area to be treated in gradual steps. How long the source will stay in each dwell position is calculated individually for each type of tumor and enables physicians to adjust the dose to the target volume. This protects the surrounding organs and reduces side effects. Together with recent developments in three-dimensional imaging, computerized treatment planning systems and robot-assisted afterloading devices, this has made brachytherapy a safe and effective form of treatment for many types of cancer.
Eckert & Ziegler Strahlen- und Medizintechnik AG
With around 700 employees, the Eckert & Ziegler Group (ISIN DE0005659700) is one of the world's largest providers of isotope components for radiation therapy and nuclear medicine. Besides irradiation equipment for gynecological cancers, Eckert & Ziegler manufactures special products for the treatment of prostate cancer and ocular tumors. Eckert & Ziegler BEBIG s.a. is a manufacturer of products for brachytherapy and European market leader for prostate implants.
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