GE to invest $1B to improve breast cancer detection, care
GE, along with its healthcare and financial partners, has launched a healthymagination initiative aimed at accelerating cancer innovation and improving care for 10 million cancer patients globally by 2020.

GE CEO and Chair Jeff Immelt and several venture capital partners announced a healthymagination open innovation challenge to fund promising ideas to improve breast cancer diagnostics. GE also will invest $1 billion over the next five years on research and development programs to expand its suite of advanced technologies for cancer detection and treatment, beginning with breast cancer.

The $100 million global open innovation challenge seeks to identify and bring to market ideas that advance breast cancer diagnostics. The goal is to help healthcare professionals better understand tumors associated with triple negative cancer, as well as the molecular similarities between breast cancer and other solid tumors, improving early detection, allowing for more accurate diagnoses and ultimately helping physicians make the best possible treatment decisions based on each patient’s cancer.

The challenge was launched in collaboration with venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Venrock, Mohr Davidow and MPM Capital. The effort will focus on data in partnership with O’Reilly Media.

Challenge entrants will be evaluated by a committee of representatives from GE and venture capital partner firms. A separate, independent judging panel that includes GE executives, venture capital partners and several leading healthcare experts will select the recipients of the $100,000 innovation seed grants. Winners will be announced in the first quarter of 2012.

GE is also investing in the development of a database which will consolidate clinical, pathology, therapy and outcomes data to enable analysis and further accelerate innovation. This database will be available in collaboration with leading cancer research, nongovernment and government organizations, starting with relevant cancer data from GE’s Medical Quality Improvement Consortium; Clarient, a GE Healthcare Company; The Premier healthcare alliance; and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

New technologies
GE also will launch new systems that improve screening and breast cancer diagnosis, and help physicians ensure patients receive the right therapy for their tumor type.

GE announced SenoCase, portable mammography device concept that will take a traditional digital mammography system and miniaturize it into a portable unit the size of a large suitcase.

GE also previewed SenoBright, Contrast Enhanced Spectral Mammography (CESM), a breast screening technique that will enable more precise identification of breast cancer incidence for more than one million women by 2020. SenoBright combines digital mammography, low- and high-level x-rays and a contrast agent to identify incidence of cancer, and helps clinicians better select patients requiring biopsy. SenoBright is currently pending 510(k) clearance at the U.S. FDA, and not available for sale in the U.S. Outside the U.S., SenoBright has been installed in 17 care centers across Europe and Asia.

Access to care
GE announced a three-year partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure to forge programs that bring the latest breast cancer technologies to more women in the U.S. and around the world. Initially, these programs will run in Wyoming, Saudi Arabia and China.

  • Wyoming: By combining mobile mammography with a digital twist to appointment bookings, GE is partnering with a number of in-state organizations to help Wyoming address the challenges associated with being one of the most rural states in the U.S.
  • Saudi Arabia: GE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health established a mutual partnership aimed at increasing access to breast cancer screening. GE will develop and deploy two mobile screening units in Riyadh City with the goal of screening 10,000 women within the first 12 months with a plan to start in October. It’s also reaching out to leading universities to launch an open innovation challenge for Saudi women in an effort to identify sustainable methods for improving breast cancer screening in the country.
  • China: GE and partners will launch a broad outreach program later this year in the Guangdong Province aimed at raising awareness of and compliance with breast cancer screening procedures. The program will develop a local model to improve education and breast screening in rural areas.

To learn more about this initiative, click here.