GE wins FDA approval for automated breast imaging system

A technician uses the Invenia ABUS for scanning dense breast tissue.--Courtesy GE

GE Healthcare ($GE) won FDA approval for its automated breast imaging system for women with dense breast tissue, continuing its ongoing campaign to develop innovative cancer diagnostics and imaging technologies.

Women with dense breast tissue often have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, and GE's Invenia ABUS system allows physicians to find 35.7% more cancers in women with dense breasts than mammograms alone, the company said in a statement. The device uses 3D ultrasound technology to quickly screen women with dense breast tissue, and includes features like a Reverse Curve transducer to conform to a woman's body, and a Compression Assist tool that automatically applies light levels of compression to the breast to aid image reproducibility.

"Mammography is still considered the gold standard for breast cancer screening but is less sensitive in women who have dense breast tissue," Dr. Elise Berman, breast imaging specialist at Fairfax Radiological Consultants, said in a statement. "Supplementing the mammogram with automated breast ultrasound screenings should help us find tumors that cannot be seen on the mammogram and at an earlier stage than would have otherwise been found. We are optimistic that this more personalized screening approach can help us save more women's lives."

The new technology is part of GE's global push to develop its cancer diagnostic products. In 2011, the Milwaukee, WI-based company committed $1 billion of its total R&D budget to advance its cancer technologies and molecular imaging capabilities, and plans to reach 10 million patients by the end of 2020.

GE has also snatched up other device outfits in hopes of expanding its current offerings. Last June, the company bought mammography technology from South Korean X-ray outfit Vatech, giving it a stronger foothold in an emerging market. In 2012, GE picked up U-System, a California company with an FDA-approved, automated breast ultrasound system designed to help identify smaller tumors in women with dense breast tissue.

GE will launch its breast cancer imaging technology at Fairfax Radiological Consultants outside of Washington, DC, and at Phelps Memorial Hospital in Westchester, NY. The company plans to roll out the technology nationwide in 2014, it said in a statement.

- read the release

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