December 05, 2007

SAN DIEGO – The SAVI™ applicator, an advanced treatment for breast cancer, provides multiple benefits for patients, breast surgeons, and radiation oncologists, according to research performed at the Rebecca and John Moores UCSD Cancer Center. These findings were recently presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

The research was headed by Catheryn Yashar, M.D., Assistant Professor and Chief of Breast and Gynecological Services in the UCSD Department of Radiation Oncology.

An advancement in breast conservation therapy (lumpectomy plus radiation), the SAVI applicator is a single-entry, multi-catheter device that delivers partial breast irradiation. SAVI reduces the course of treatment time from six weeks to just five days. Its unique design may expand the benefits of breast conservation therapy to a larger group of women.

“Our early experience with SAVI has been excellent,” said Dr. Yashar, “We were able to reproducibly treat the lumpectomy site and avoid healthy tissue such as the skin, chest wall, and lungs because the radiation dose is precisely targeted. The device is also well tolerated by the patient and relatively easy for the physician to place.”

Yashar and her colleagues reported that treatment with the applicator is effective in multiple ways:

  • SAVI is simple to insert, using local anesthesia and ultrasound guidance.
  • The applicator provides excellent coverage of the tumor bed.
  • SAVI makes it possible to conform the radiation dosage to the targeted area, offering better protection to healthy structures such as the skin, chest wall, and lungs.
  • Daily quality assurance can be done with scout films rather than CT scans, which substantially reduces the patient’s exposure to radiation and is more convenient.
  • The applicator rarely moves between treatments, which means the original treatment plan remains valid throughout the course of treatment. The fact that SAVI stays in place after insertion is also the reason CT scans are not needed for quality assurance.
  • SAVI is nearly painless to remove after treatment is concluded, so no anesthesia is needed.
  • The treatment is well-tolerated by patients.
  • SAVI has produced outstanding early cosmetic results.

The full results were reported by Dan Scanderbeg, Ph.D., UCSD Fellow in Radiation Physics, in a podium presentation at RSNA’s annual meeting, Nov. 25-30 in Chicago. The presentation was titled “Early Experience with the SAVI for Multi-Catheter Single Entry High-Dose Rate Breast Brachytherapy.”

The Moores UCSD Cancer Center is one of the first medical facilities in the nation to offer SAVI as part of breast conservation therapy. Breast conservation therapy includes lumpectomy – the surgical removal of the cancerous tissue within the breast plus tissue immediately around the tumor – followed by radiation.

Radiation treatment after a lumpectomy has traditionally involved irradiation of the entire breast with an external beam. Known as whole breast irradiation, this approach exposes more healthy tissue and requires a much longer treatment course, with radiation delivered five times a week over a six-to-seven week period.

Although early reports on partial breast irradiation are promising, the definitive study comparing it to whole breast radiation is currently underway by the National Surgical Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP).

The SAVI applicator is made by Cianna Medical, Inc., a women’s health company dedicated to the innovative treatment of early-stage breast cancer.

About Cianna Medical, Inc.
Cianna Medical, Inc. is a women’s health company dedicated to the innovative treatment of early-stage breast cancer. The company manufactures and markets the SAVI breast-brachytherapy applicator, for the delivery of radiation after lumpectomy surgery. The SAVI applicator allows contouring of the radiation dose, and is designed to make the benefits of accelerated partial breast irradiation available to a greater number of women. For more information about the company, call (toll-free) 866-920-9444 or visit