Vantage Oncology (Manhattan Beach, California) said that it has completed seven new partnerships comprising 10 cancer treatment facilities in several new and existing markets. In addition, Vantage has secured a new $100 million credit facility that will support the company's continued growth.

Vantage now operates 31 centers in 11 states with its physician and hospital partners and is well positioned to continue its rapid national expansion.

"We are very pleased with our national expansion efforts," said Michael Fiore, CEO and co-founder of Vantage. "Since we began our operations just under six years ago, we have been building our infrastructure, enhancing our operating model, cultivating our relationships with high quality physician and hospital partners, and continuously strengthening our capital structure. The accomplishments of these past few months reflect the results of those efforts. We are now well positioned to continue this growth through new partnerships in both our existing and new regions."

Medtronic, PETA find common ground

Following negotiations with the group People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Medtronic (Minneapolis) said it has agreed to take steps that will improve the lives of the animals the company uses in experiments.

Medtronic has pledged to extend animal welfare protections to the animals it uses in foreign contract laboratories, including laboratories in China. The company also will meet twice per year with PETA to address issues such as implementing enrichment measures for animals used in experiments and the company's continued use of live animals for medical-device sales training.

In return, PETA has withdrawn its shareholder resolution calling on Medtronic to stop outsourcing animal experiments to China, where PETA says animal protection laws are virtually non-existent.

Survey: Prostate treatment options underused

Millennium Research Group (Waltham, Massachusetts) conducted a survey of more than 140 U.S. and European urologists during the recent annual meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA; Linthicum, Maryland), the results suggesting that several minimally invasive prostate cancer treatment options are under-used in both the U.S. and Europe.

Results of the survey are analyzed in the U.S. and European Urologist Survey: Prostate Cancer Treatment Trends 2008 report, with U.S. urologists indicating that cryosurgery was under-used, while European urologists felt that both cryosurgery and high-intensity focused ultrasound were under-used.

In both regions, insufficient data supporting the treatments and the need to refer patients to another specialist were considered the leading barriers to adoption.

"These barriers will need to be addressed before utilization rates can increase notably," says Barbara Prud'homme, senior analyst at Millennium. "Expensive equipment, poor results with early cryosurgery equipment, and physician familiarity with traditional treatments such as radical prostatectomy, have deterred many from performing these minimally invasive procedures. Moreover, many urologists see cryosurgery as a salvage operation after other treatments haven't worked. One positive sign for the adoption of these treatments is that U.S. and European urologists indicated that their use of these treatments had increased over the past year."

Millennium specializes in medical technology market intelligence.