Xillix Technologies Corp.

Xillix Technologies Corp.

June 01, 2006 11:55 ET

Xillix Technologies Corp.: Lung Cancer Screening Legislation Introduced to U.S. House of Representatives

RICHMOND, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - June 1, 2006) -

Early Lung Cancer Detection includes Fluorescence Bronchoscopy

Xillix Technologies Corp. (TSX:XLX), the world leader in fluorescence bronchoscopy for the early detection of lung cancer, highlighted precedent-setting legislation introduced last week in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Clay Shaw (R-FL) that supports early detection of lung cancer and lung cancer screening tests including fluorescence bronchoscopy for high-risk individuals.

House Resolution #5455 would amend the Social Security Act to provide coverage for lung cancer screening tests for high-risk individuals under the Medicare program. The legislation would cover low-dose spiral computed tomography (CT) scans, sputum analysis and fluorescence bronchoscopy for anyone with: a family history of lung cancer; a significant smoking history; significant prior exposure to toxic agents such as agent orange; a significant exposure to radon, asbestos, beryllium, uranium, second hand smoke and other known carcinogens; or previous lung disease. In a letter to his House colleagues, Congressman Shaw, a two-time lung cancer survivor said, "Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death. Lung cancer kills three times as many men as prostate cancer and nearly twice as many women as breast cancer. We cannot find a cure for cancer without addressing the need to diagnose and treat lung cancer early."

This legislation is in addition to Congressman Shaw's House Resolution #739 which calls on the U.S. President to declare lung cancer a public health priority and to implement a comprehensive inter-agency program that will reduce lung cancer mortality by at least 50% by 2015. Earlier in May, a similar resolution, Senate Resolution #408, introduced by Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) was passed just five weeks after introduction by the U.S. Senate. Both resolution preambles describe the magnitude of the problem of lung cancer:

- Lung cancer kills more people each year than breast, prostate, colon, liver, melanoma and kidney cancers combined

- Five-year survival rate for lung cancer is still only 15%, while more heavily funded cancers such as breast and prostate, have 5 year survival rates of 87% and 99% respectively

- Over 60% of lung cancer is now being diagnosed in non-smokers and former smokers

- Military personnel and veterans have higher smoking rates and elevated exposure to known carcinogens

- The Baby Boom generation is now entering their 60's, the most common age for cancer development

These legislative initiatives have all been endorsed by the Lung Cancer Alliance, the only U.S. non-profit organization solely dedicated to patient support and advocacy for people living with lung cancer and those at risk. Laurie Fenton, President of the Lung Cancer Alliance has said in recent statements, "(This) is the first time we have the Senate and House recognizing that lung cancer is not a political issue, rather, it's a major public health epidemic affecting smokers and non-smokers. (Lung cancer) must be addressed as a disease - not a punishment...We must have early lung cancer detection and treatment- now."

This legislation confronts the current U.S. federal government's position which rates lung cancer screening as inconclusive, citing limited statistics to prove that screening increases survival- a position now challenged by the medical community and Lung Cancer Alliance. Laurie Fenton said, "We know from the statistics on all cancers that a late stage diagnosis is a lethal diagnosis...Why is the federal government actively promoting PSA screening (test for prostate cancer), (which has) the same (inconclusive) rating, when lung cancer will kill over three times as many men as prostate cancer?"
Opponents of lung cancer screening argue that it will lead to too many false positive diagnoses, overexposure to radiation from CT and chest x-rays, emotional stress and unnecessary surgeries. "These are the exact arguments we heard 20 years ago from those opposed to mammography screening, and even today some diehards claim the statistics do not justify its use," said Fenton. "I would suggest they speak to the many women whose breast cancer was diagnosed early, thanks to a mammogram."

During the recent American Thoracic Society (ATS) meeting held May 19-24th in San Diego, leading lung cancer physicians described similar arguments raised in colorectal screening, which has become the standard of care and resulted in improved colorectal cancer survival. As summarized in the Surgical Oncology Clinics of North America (Oct 2005), "Screening should take place with the tests currently available and not wait until something better comes along. In this way, needless suffering and loss of life can be avoided for this leading cause of cancer death (colorectal cancer). Screening may become even more successful if the promise of new technologies is confirmed and they enter clinical practice. In the last analysis, the best test is the one that gets done and gets done immediately."

"As the pioneer and world leader in fluorescence bronchoscopy," said Cynthia Roney, Executive Vice President, Xillix Technologies Corp., "we strongly support this legislation which will provide improved, early detection of lung cancer and lung cancer screening tests including fluorescence bronchoscopy for high-risk individuals. The legislation introduced by Congressman Clay Shaw, Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Chuck Hagel, combined with the tireless efforts of the Lung Cancer Alliance, highlights the problem of lung cancer and recognizes that early lung cancer detection and lung cancer screening tests are essential in tackling the most lethal cause of cancer death- lung cancer."

Xillix's latest fluorescence bronchoscopy device, Onco-LIFE™, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June 2005, for the improved detection and localization of lung cancer following an international clinical trial that demonstrated a 325% per-lesion improvement and a 250% per-patient improvement in the detection of pre-cancerous and early-stage lung cancer (moderate-severe dysplasia to carcinoma in situ) compared to conventional white-light bronchoscopy alone. Even when patients with invasive lung cancers were included, Onco-LIFE improved detection by 50% per-lesion and 33% per-patient compared to conventional white-light bronchoscopy. Onco-LIFE, which has been endorsed by internationally recognized pulmonologists and thoracic surgeons, enables physicians to see subtle, early-stage lung cancer and pre-cancerous lesions often missed by conventional imaging including chest x-rays, CT, and conventional white-light bronchoscopy. Finding these early lesions is the key to improved survival. Studies predict that five-year lung cancer survival could increase from the current dismal 15% to 74-92% if found at carcinoma in situ (Stage 0) and pre-cancerous stage (moderate-severe dysplasia), which are precisely the early stages at which Onco-LIFE has been proven clinically and statistically effective.

Further information about fluorescence bronchoscopy which is known worldwide simply as Xillix LIFE™ (Light-Induced-Fluorescence-Endoscopy) is available on the Company's website at www.xillix.com. Copies of the U.S. House and Senate lung cancer legislative resolutions HR#5455, HR#739 and SR#408 are also available on Xillix's website. More information about the Lung Cancer Alliance is available at www.lungcanceralliance.org.

About Xillix

Xillix Technologies Corp. is a Canadian medical device company and the world leader in fluorescence endoscopy for improved cancer detection. The Company's first-generation pioneering product, Xillix LIFE-Lung™ was approved by the FDA in 1996. Xillix's latest device, Onco-LIFE™, incorporates fluorescence and white-light endoscopy in a single device that has been developed for the detection and localization of lung and gastrointestinal (GI) cancers. An international multi-center lung cancer clinical trial of Onco-LIFE demonstrated a 325% per-lesion improvement in the detection of early lung cancer (moderate-severe dysplasia and carcinoma in situ) and a 250% per-patient improvement compared to white-light alone. Onco-LIFE is approved for sale in the United States for use in the lung cancer application and in Europe, Canada and Australia for both lung and GI applications. Onco-LIFE is compact, user-friendly and is compatible with a wide range of endoscopes and endoscopic accessories to help maximize global market acceptance.

Note: Certain of the statements contained in this press release contain forward-looking statements which involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company, or industry results, to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. The Company does not expect to update forward-looking statements continually as conditions change. Investors are referred to the full discussion of risk factors associated with the Company's business contained in the Company's Annual Information Form filed with securities regulatory authorities dated March 28, 2006.

The Company is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the trading symbol "XLX".

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