Small-cap stocks pulled ahead of the broader market Monday, helped along by good news from the health sector.

Among the best-performing stocks was

Luna Innovations

(LUNA) - Get Report

, which rocketed 69% to $5.07 in very active trading after the Food and Drug Administration

approved

the Virginia-based company's Edac Quantifier product. The device detects gaseous emboli, or air bubbles, that can enter the bloodstream and cause brain damage during invasive medical procedures.

Californian biotech

Antigenics

(AGEN) - Get Report

soared 32% to $3.35 after saying a late-phase study of its Oncophage cancer vaccine yielded "clinically significant" results in recurrence-free survival for patients with kidney cancer.

The Russell 2000 was leaping 1.4% to 835.08 partly thanks to another biotech, the lately beleaguered

Dendreon

(DNDN)

. Shares of the Seattle-based company took back 12.7% to $6.84 on word it will cut about 18% of its workforce for a charge of up to $1.8 million.

Also propping up the index was Houston's

Pioneer Cos.

(PONR)

, a maker of chlorine and other products that vaulted 16.2% to $34.14 after

agreeing to sell itself

to

Olin

(OLN) - Get Report

for $35 a share in cash. Olin lately gained 2.5% to $19.48.

Also climbing were fellow Russell 2000 members

Shuffle Master

(SHFL)

and

SiRF Technology

( SIRF) -- lately up 6.9% and 2.3%, respectively -- on positive analyst research.

Las Vegas-based Shuffle Master, a gambling-equipment maker, was upped to peer perform from underperform at Bear Stearns on valuation. Meanwhile, an American Technology Research analyst stamped SiRF with a buy rating, citing his belief that the San Jose, Calif., company will remain a market leader in global-positioning-system chipsets and that its new wireless GPS offerings present "significant opportunity" that has been mispriced by investors.

Shuffle Master supported the

S&P

SmallCap 600 Index, which recently bounced 6.12 points, or 1.4%, to 434.32.

One of the day's biggest small-cap losers, however, was

NetBank

( NTBK). Shares plummeted 68.6% to 55 cents after the Georgia-based online bank said it will take a hit of between $60 million and $70 million in an asset-purchase and liability-assumption transaction with EverBank. NetBank is selling its held-for-investment loan portfolio and its small-business-equipment-leasing operations, among other assets, and is also shutting down its struggling third-party mortgage-origination business.

Georgia Gulf

(GGC)

, maker of vinyl-based building products, was off 3% to $18.41 on a Matrix Research downgrade to sell, and technical-software developer

Cimatron

(CIMT)

slid 21.6% to $2.78 after first-quarter earnings fell by a nickel from last year to 23 cents a share.