Healthcare Industry News:  vertebral compression fractures 

Devices Orthopaedic Neurosurgery

 News Release - April 3, 2008

ArthroCare Unveils New Direction in Treatment of Metastatic Lesions

Coblation Shows Promise in Treating Cancer Patients

AUSTIN, Texas--(HSMN NewsFeed)--The Cavity SpineWand®, developed by ArthroCare (Nasdaq: ARTC ), a multi-business medical device company, has been successfully used in treating patients suffering from spine tumors – clinically known as spinal metastases. These tumors can cause painful vertebral compression fractures (VCFs), which significantly decrease quality of life.

One such patient that has benefited from tumor ablation using the Cavity Wand is Theresa Fox of Marlette, Mich. Theresa was a passionate equestrian and spent much of her free time riding and caring for her horse. In 2005 the 35-year-old was diagnosed with cervical cancer, was treated with chemotherapy and went into remission for more than a year. In early 2007, Theresa began experiencing significant back pain, which her physicians could not easily diagnose. Painkillers had little impact, which forced her to give up riding, and ultimately, her job. An MRI revealed that her cervical cancer had spread to her lung and spine, causing a spine tumor that had fractured her vertebrae.

In 2007 Theresa was treated using the Cavity SpineWand followed by vertebroplasty by Bhrat Mehta, M.D., interventional radiologist at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Mich. After treatment, she was able to return home the following day and reduce her usage of pain killers within a week.

“This was the easiest procedure for me that I have gone through and was able to do so much that within a week I was able to sleep through the night, in my own bed,” said Fox.

Spine tumors are often associated with primary cancers that spread through the bloodstream to the spine. Tumors weaken vertebral bone until it collapses, which can cause debilitating back pain and impaired mobility, increased reliability on drug therapy, and may make it difficult for patients to comply with chemotherapy or radiation therapies prescribed by their oncologist. The American Cancer Society estimates 30 to 70 percent of more than half a million people who die annually of cancer have metastatic disease and 10 percent of the 750,000 vertebral compression fractures that occur each year are believed to be caused by metastatic spine tumors.

"I refer my patients with vertebral compression fractures due to malignancy because the Cavity SpineWand provides good reduction of the tumor and the vertebroplasty provides stabilization of the painful fracture,” said Mark Perman, radiation oncologist at the North Florida Radiation Oncology Center in Gainesville, Fla.

The Cavity SpineWand is a minimally invasive device that uses a plasma based technology called Coblation to create a cavity in a malignant lesion -- precisely debulking the tumor tissue. The Cavity SpineWand can be used prior to a variety of procedures including vertebroplasty, which is commonly used to treat compression fractures within vertebral bodies. Vertebroplasty following the Cavity SpineWand provides a predictable place for cement injection. Following vertebroplasty, patients report significant pain relief, often within 72 hours post procedure.

ArthroCare is also announcing that it is embarking on a program which will focus its proprietary Coblation® technology to treat patients suffering from metastatic disease in other major weight-bearing, structural bones. Patients with metastatic disease often present with lesions in other, larger structural bones such as the pelvis and femur and when fractured, complicate treatment options for patients with cancer. It is estimated that 500,000 patients with metastatic disease will develop lesions in structural bones that may benefit from treatment. Traditional treatment options for these patients include radiation, chemotherapy and reconstructive surgery which in late stages can include amputation. ArthroCare’s recently formed Interventional Therapies Division is working with surgeons to develop less invasive surgical alternatives for these patients so they may remain ambulatory and continue normal functions for as long as possible.

ArthroCare also recently received clearance for the OrthoWand, which is indicated for use in soft tissue ablation in orthopedic procedures. The OrthoWand can be used in long, weight bearing and structural bones. ArthroCare is reviewing regulatory and clinical pathways for application in metastatic lesions, and will work with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for more specific product labeling.

“Coblation-based products, like the OrthoWand and Cavity Wand, offer an important step in the care of patients with metastatic lesions,” said Jim Pacek, Vice President and General Manager of ArthroCare’s Interventional Therapies. “The prospects of Coblation based products specifically developed for metastatic lesions should help patients with their quality of life and with their continued treatment and care. We are excited about entering this field and bringing surgeons a new technology to help people suffering from metastatic cancerous tumors.”

ABOUT ARTHROCARE

Founded in 1993, ArthroCare Corp. (www.arthrocare.com) is a highly innovative, multi-business medical device company that develops, manufactures and markets minimally invasive surgical products. With these products, ArthroCare targets a multi-billion dollar market opportunity across several medical specialties, significantly improving existing surgical procedures and enabling new, minimally invasive procedures. Many of ArthroCare's products are based on its patented Coblation technology, which uses low-temperature radiofrequency energy to gently and precisely dissolve rather than burn soft tissue -- minimizing damage to healthy tissue. Used in more than four million surgeries worldwide, Coblation-based devices have been developed and marketed for sports medicine; spine/neurologic; ear, nose and throat (ENT); cosmetic; urologic and gynecologic procedures. ArthroCare also has added a number of novel technologies to its portfolio, including Opus Medical sports medicine, Parallax spine and Applied Therapeutics ENT products, to complement Coblation within key indications.

SAFE HARBOR STATEMENTS

Except for historical information, this press release includes forward-looking statements. These statements include, but are not limited to, the company's stated business outlook for fiscal 2008, continued strength of the company's fundamental position, the strength of the company's technology, the company's belief that strategic moves will enhance achievement of the company's long term potential, the potential and expected rate of growth of new businesses, continued success of product diversification efforts, and other statements that involve risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to the uncertainty of success of the company's non-arthroscopic products, competitive risk, uncertainty of the success of strategic business alliances, uncertainty over reimbursement, need for governmental clearances or approvals before selling products, the uncertainty of protecting the company's patent position, and any changes in financial results from completion of year-end audit activities. These and other risks and uncertainties are detailed from time to time in the company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including ArthroCare's Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2007. Forward-looking statements are indicated by words or phrases such as "anticipates," "estimates," "projects," "believes," "intends," "expects," and similar words and phrases. Actual results may differ materially from management expectations.


Source: ArthroCare

Issuer of this News Release is solely responsible for its content.
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