Bayer and Hologic have teamed up with the goal of offering clearer breast cancer scans as a package deal—combining the former’s imaging contrast agents with the latter’s mammography hardware.
The two companies say that the emerging field of contrast-enhanced mammography, or CEM, can be used alongside traditional scans—with the addition of contrast agents highlighting the flow of blood and helping to visualize the vessels leading in and out of a tumor.
It can be a helpful option after an inconclusive reading from a previous breast scan, or during the planning stages before tumor surgery, according to Bayer and Hologic. CEM can also be used to provide a somewhat similar, but less expensive, image compared to contrast-enhanced MRI, or when those machines are unavailable or unsafe for the patient.
The partnership will focus on Europe, Canada and the Asia-Pacific region, with plans to provide hands-on training to radiologists and clinicians on the administration of injectable contrast agents during digital mammography.
“Over the past several years, we’ve seen an increased interest in contrast-enhanced mammography as an additional diagnostic modality,” Tanja Brycker, Hologic’s VP of strategic development for breast and skeletal health, said in a statement. “Our partnership with Bayer will enable clinicians around the world to offer CEM as part of the breast cancer diagnostic workflow.”
In January of this year, Bayer received European approval for its Ultravist contrast agent for use in CEM. The iodine-based Ultravist has previously been used in X-ray, angiography and CT scans, and according to Bayer it has been used in more than 100 countries for scans of the head, chest, heart, abdomen and liver. The agent also received a CEM approval from the FDA in June.