Market Overview

Eckert & Ziegler BEBIG: German PREFERE Study Compares Treatment Options for Localised Prostate Cancer - Expected Impulse for LDR Brachytherapy


Berlin, 01.02.2013 - One of the biggest clinical studies in the field of oncology carried out by independent renowned scientific institutions, the PREFERE-study, started in Germany in January 2013. It is the first prospective, randomised study comparing the four established treatment options for prostate cancer of low or early intermediate risk: Low Dose Rate-Brachytherapy (LDR Brachytherapy), Radical Prostatectomy, External Radiotherapy, and Active Surveillance. The purpose of this trendsetting study is not only to compare the effectiveness of the different prostate cancer treatment methods, but also to evaluate the treatment-related side effects and quality of life.

The LDR Brachytherapy method will profit from the PREFERE study in a multiple way: As seed implantations in Germany make up only 3 percent of prostate cancer treatments (compared to 60 percent covered by prostate surgeries) there is an enormous potential for the further development of LDR Brachytherapy. Patients diagnosed with localised prostate cancer will receive comprehensive information about the four selected therapies, which will be presented in a standardised way as equal treatment options. This will raise the brachytherapy awareness considerably. Additionally, for patients receiving an ambulant seed implantation within the study, the public health funds have guaranteed entire refund.

"The PREFERE study has a major impact on the future of brachytherapy in Germany. It will contribute to a great extend to the official acceptance of LDR Brachytherapy with seeds as a standard treatment form of the early and medium stage localised prostate cancer", said Abel Luzuriaga, Managing Director of Eckert & Ziegler BEBIG. "As the main seed provider in Germany, Eckert & Ziegler BEBIG strongly acclaims the study and is looking forward to the first outcome in five years. We expect that the PREFERE study will confirm the positive results of the retrospective meta-analysis published by Peter Grimm in the British Journal of Urology in 2012, according to which LDR Brachytherapy proves to be an equivalent or superior treatment option for low and intermediate stage prostate cancer". 

The PREFERE study is planned to last till 2030, with the first partial analysis published after five years. 7.600 patients will be recruited and randomised for the preferred treatment methods. 1.000 experienced resident urologists and radiation oncologists, as well as 90 control centers are participating in the project. The study concept has been developed and supported by national and international experts and renowned institutions such as German Cancer Aid (Deutsche Krebshilfe), German Urology Society (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Urologie) or German Cancer Society (Deutsche Krebsgesellschaft).

About Low Dose Rate Brachytherapy

LDR brachytherapy, called also permanent brachytherapy is the most conservative treatment method for early stage prostate cancer. Its international popularity has increased since the early 1990s and the technique is widely used, especially in the developed countries. In this treatment, small radioactive Iodine-125 sources (with a length of 4.5 mm and a diameter of 0.8 mm), so called seeds, are placed inside the prostate. Each seed emits a specific low dose of radiation to its surrounding tissue inside the prostate. By placing the seeds homogeneously throughout the prostate, the organ is covered with the designated dose required to destroy the cancerous cells. Since irradiation is mainly localised around the radioactive source, neighbouring tissues are spared unnecessary damage. This makes the LDR brachytherapy a highly effective treatment option with a good side-effect profile.

About Eckert & Ziegler BEBIG
Contributing to saving lives!

Eckert & Ziegler BEBIG is a European-based group active in the medical device segment of the health care industry. Its core business is the production and distribution of medical products for the treatment of cancer using brachytherapy.
Eckert & Ziegler BEBIG is a brachytherapy leader in Europe. The company headquarters are in Belgium, with a production facility in Germany and subsidiaries throughout Europe, in India and Brazil. In addition, Eckert & Ziegler BEBIG has a worldwide network of distributors and agents, to support the international marketing and distribution of its product line. The company's products and equipment are intended for use by oncologists, radiotherapists, urologists, ophthalmologists and medical physicists.
Eckert & Ziegler BEBIG employs more than 150 people. The company has been listed on the Euronext stock exchange since April 1997.






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Source: Eckert & Ziegler BEBIG via Thomson Reuters ONE

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