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Developer of Radiation Sensors For Cancer Victims Lands $12M In Financing

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MORRISVILLE, N.C. — With orders in hand for its recently approved Dose Verification System (DVS),

Sicel Technologies

said Thursday that it had also closed on $12 million in new financing.

Sicel has developed implantable sensor technology that is designed to better measure and direct radiation treatment. The company recently received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to use the system for both breast cancer and prostate cancer treatments.

Sicel describes DVS as the "first permanently implantable, wireless, telemetric, radiation sensor for human use" in the United States. The miniscule sensor is implanted, and a wireless device is used to take readings.

Charles Scarantino, MD, an oncologist at Rex Hospital, founded the company. Its technology is licensed from North Carolina State University.

According to Sicel, the DVS has an advantage over other technologies used to precisely locate tumors because it is the only product to measure radiation dosage. The company also said most cancer centers already have the technology needed to utilize the sensor.

The FDA granted approval for use of the DVS in breast cancer patients in April. Approval for use in prostate cancer cases was granted by the FDA in June.

"With DVS, we are providing radiation therapy clinics with a device which can be used as an adjunct to treatment planning to validate the prescribed dose by measuring absolute radiation dose within the treated or surrounding tissue for each treatment," said Gloria Beyer, MD, vice president of clinical operations for Sicel. "In addition, the dosimeter can also be used as a marker to aid in tumor localization.

"We believe that this dual capability will enable Sicel to actively facilitate the trend toward image-guided adaptive cancer radiotherapy and give healthcare providers added confidence as they implement these advanced treatments, " she added in a statement. Sicel said that it has already received several purchase orders and "commitments" for the system. The company said it expects the first DVS systems to be installed this month.

Sicel has raised funding at various times since its founding in 1999. The company employs 31 people. While not disclosing the names of investors, the company said a number of new ones had participated in the latest funding.

"This is a key milestone for the company," said Michael Riddle, the chief executive officer of Sicel, about the funding. "It will allow us to execute on our commercialization plans and ensure that this cutting-edge sensor technology is made available to the oncology community. This is our opportunity to help enhance the accuracy of radiation therapy, thereby reducing treatment side effects and improving the quality of life of cancer patients."

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