“Photon Beam Technology Kills Cancer in 16 Minutes”

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, April 24, 2009

This ad has been crashing in on Gumshoe beach in massive waves over the last week, so I thought it might be time to take a gander. It’s for the Xcelerated Profits report at Mt. Vernon Research — the last time I saw a similar ad it was from Karim Rahemtulla for this same report, but it seems that we now have Marc Lichtenfeld to thank for this ad.

It’s all about a cancer killer, which, as most folks who dabble in biotech will tell you, is where a lot of the money is — blockbusters like Genentech’s Avastin and revolutionary devices like Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci robot are huge moneymakers because of their ability to help fight cancer in one way or another.

The ad does really get your attention, because there are copious quotes from both patients and doctors — stories of patients who had treatments that took just minutes, or a few hours, and saw tremendous results, and endorsements from a variety of oncologists. So it seems real.

And it is a real, accepted product — just to “tease” you a bit myself (and I also own shares of this one). Here’s a bit more about the company, just to get your mouth watering …

“Now, as Americans seek alternatives to traditional cancer treatment – others like Bruce [Jenkins — he was one of the patients teased at the top of the ad] are discovering this amazing cancer blaster.

“It’s not surgery… It’s not chemotherapy… It’s not a drug…

“It’s a breakthrough treatment that the FDA has approved to destroy cancer anywhere on the body… and it can even blast away tumors that were once considered inoperable.

“But here’s the exciting part…

“So far, this technology has remained in limited use. Chances are, your own doctor hasn’t had access.

“But finally, the company behind the device has introduced an improvement that promises to make this technology absolutely essential to every single cancer-treatment center in the world.

“Just days ago, in fact, hundreds of doctors from around the world convened at a medical conference in South Florida – just to get a closer look at this life-saving device.

“Even the most skeptical among them were calling it ‘groundbreaking.’ Dr. Henry Jacobs – Head of Oncology at a major Oklahoma hospital – said this cancer blaster “exceeded my highest expectations.”

“You see, the perfected version of the technology can actually destroy cancer cells in as little as 16 minutes flat. And quietly, behind the scenes, this technology is about to go ‘mainstream.'”

OK, so that 16 minutes is actually a time that they claimed for treatment of the first brain cancer patient by this device in Tulsa, Oklahoma last Summer (you can see that press release here).

And I won’t leave you hanging any further — this cancer-fighting machine is the Cyberknife, and it’s made and sold by Accuray, the company being teased here.

That medical conference in South Florida, by the way, was the Cyberknife Users Meeting in Hollywood, FL — here’s the company’s press release about the meeting.

Accuray has gotten a fair amount of attention from investors and from investment newsletters, in part because of the spectacular success of the “kind of similar” robotic medicine company Intuitive Surgical. I’ve owned shares of both companies in the past, but currently hold only Accuray shares, and at a signficant loss. Intuitive Surgical makes the da Vinci, which is a surgical robot that allows for minimally invasive, more precise (many argue) laparascopic-like surgery through small incisions. Accuray makes the CyberKnife, which is a robotically-controlled radiation machine that offers extremely precise, motion-tracking radiation treatment for various tumors.

One of the major links between the two companies, aside from the fact that they’re both makers of medical robots, broadly defined, is that prostate cancer, the biggest market for da Vinci surgeries, is also a possible huge market for CyberKnife radiosurgery, so they may end up being in direct competition.

CyberKnife is primarily used for a few different cancers right now, particularly those where the surrounding tissue is very sensitive or where surgery is either very risky or impossible — their big markets so far seem to be prostate cancer, brain cancer, and lung cancer. And while brain tumors have been a traditional target of what they call radiosurgery (very precise application of radiation), that was in part because brain tumors don’t move as much as others, and the skull can be immobilized nicely to make sure the aim of the devise is precise enough. The CyberKnife’s claim to fame is that it doesn’t need the tumor to