Augmenix touts study of its rectal spacer to cut radiotherapy effects

Waltham, MA's Augmenix touted its FDA-cleared absorbable spacer for improving prostate cancer radiotherapy. By implanting the hydrogel spacer between the rectum and prostate, the SpaceOAR device spares the rectum from an unwelcome radiation dose, the company says.

A company study of 222 patients found that the device increased the size of the prostate-rectum space by an average of 11 millimeters. Median rectal radiation dose was cut by 78% in SpaceOAR patients relative to the control group. Other benefits experienced by the treatment group included 76% fewer acute rectal pain events, a 71% reduction in the incidence of late rectal toxicity and a reduction in late rectal toxicity severity, according to a company release.

The hydrogel spacer is injected during a minimally invasive procedure. It is absorbed by the body after about three months, and exits in the form of urine.

"It's rare you find a product concept with all the arrows pointing in the right direction" said Amar Sawhney, Augmenix founder and chairman of the board, in a statement. "Safely reducing rectal injury during prostate cancer radiotherapy will enable radiation delivery in fewer hospital visits, improving patient convenience, increasing facility throughput and saving healthcare dollars."

Augmenix says that since FDA clearance in April 2015, more than 100 cancer treatment centers have begun deploying the device to enable targeted delivery of radiotherapy among prostate cancer patients.

- read the release