Mayo Clinic study reveals positive numbers for breast cancer screening device

Gamma Medica's LumaGEM MBI system--Courtesy of Gamma

Amid growing evidence that mammography alone is not sufficient in screening women with dense breast tissue for breast cancer, a new Mayo Clinic study shows that adding an innovative molecular breast imaging solution to traditional mammography could be more accurate and cost-effective.

Researchers looked at 1,651 women healthy women with dense breasts, screening the women using Gamma Medica's molecular breast imaging (MBI) technology, LumaGEM, along with traditional mammography. The scientists found that there was a four-fold jump in cancer detection rates when LumaGEM was used as a second-line screening method. And combining Gamma Medica's technology with mammography generated cost savings of 15%, the Salem, NH-based company said in a statement. Researchers published their findings in the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR).

"The results reinforce the importance of LumaGEM and accelerate our pace to bring the advanced MBI technology to radiologists searching for more accurate tools to diagnose breast cancer," said in a statement.Gamma Medica CEO Philip Croxford

This is not the first time Gamma Medica has revealed positive numbers for its LumaGEM system. In January, the company trumpeted results from another Mayo Clinic study which showed that its technology found an additional 8.8 cancers per 1,000 women screened when added to standard mammography. And the device could pick up on addressable cancer, potentially allowing for earlier intervention.

Meanwhile, Gamma Medica continues to forge ahead with development of its LumaGEM system. Last October, Gamma Medica raked in $11.5 million to boost commercialization for its device. LumaGEM works by detecting a radioactive tracer, Tc-99m Sestamibi, which is injected into a patient and accumulates in cancer cells. Two gamma cameras then take pictures of the cells in a procedure similar to a mammogram.

The latest study data also come as medical experts question mammography as a single screening method for breast cancer in women with dense breasts. In March, Dr. Freya Schnabel of Langone Medical Center presented data at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, showing that having dense breasts was linked to having breast cancer that wasn't diagnosed through conventional imaging.

"We need to consider the addition of other tests to mammography … for women with dense breasts and with other breast cancer risk factors. MRI is one of those additional tests and ultrasound is definitely one as well," Schnabel said at the time.

- read Gamma Medica's statement
- here's the AJR study abstract

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