GE and Partners Aim to Speed Fight against Cancer, Starting With Breast Cancer


GE  and leading healthcare and financial partners have launched a new healthymagination initiative aimed at accelerating cancer innovation and improving care for 10 million cancer patients around the world by 2020. The campaign is founded on GE’s integrated portfolio, which is uniquely positioned to drive game-changing impact in oncology and a leap forward for individualized cancer care.

GE CEO and Chairman Jeff Immelt and several venture capital partners announced a healthymagination open innovation Challenge to fund promising ideas to improve breast cancer diagnostics. (To learn more about this initiative, visit Immelt also said that GE will invest US$1 billion over the next five years on R&D programs to expand its suite of advanced technologies and solutions for cancer detection and treatment, beginning with breast cancer.

“We envision a day when cancer is no longer a deadly disease,” said Immelt. “When you add our cutting edge cancer detection technologies to the innovative ideas of our new partners, it’s a powerful formula for tackling cancer and helping doctors and researchers improve care.”
Nancy Brinker, founder and CEO, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, said: “Extraordinary things can happen when you apply imagination to solve big problems. This initiative brings new innovation, commitment and significant resources to the table, and we’re very excited about its potential to help us end suffering and death, on a global scale, from the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.”

Open Innovation to Save Lives

GE’s US$100 million global open innovation challenge seeks to identify and bring to market ideas that advance breast cancer diagnostics. The goal is to help health care professionals better understand tumors associated with triple negative cancer, a type of cancer that is less responsive to standard treatments and is typically more aggressive, as well as the molecular similarities between breast cancer and other solid tumors, improving early detection, allowing for more accurate diagnoses and ultimately helping doctors make the best possible treatment decisions based on each patient’s unique cancer.

The Challenge, open immediately for entries at, was launched in collaboration with leading venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Venrock, Mohr Davidow and MPM Capital. The effort will also feature a special focus on data, in partnership with O’Reilly Media, whose CEO & founder, Tim O’Reilly is a preeminent advocate for using data science to spur innovation.

Risa Stack, partner at Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers and GE healthymagination Challenge judge, said: “Based on our work in healthcare, we think that there is great opportunity to impact cancer care with new technology in the next 10 years. As we saw through the success of the ecomagination Challenge, innovation can be transformational and good ideas that drive change can come from anywhere. We look forward to once again partnering with GE on the healthymagination Challenge to help shape a new age in patient care.”

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 luminaries – such as former U.S. FDA Commissioner and National Cancer Institute Director, Dr. Andrew Von Eschenbach; Professor of Surgery and Director of the University of Michigan Breast Care Center, Dr. Lisa Newman; and cancer medicine specialist and Imperial College’s professor of cancer medicine, Dr. Justin Stebbing – will select the recipients of the US$100,000 innovation seed grants. To view the full terms and conditions, visit Winners will be announced in the first quarter of 2012.

Andrew von Eschenbach, GE healthymagination Challenge judge and healthymagination advisory board member, said: “Scientific discovery and advances in technology have induced a tipping point in our understanding of cancer. To design and deliver integrated solutions for individual patients, we can no longer work in silos. We must combine our assets for diagnosis and therapy working in concert with partners across the private sector, government, NGOs and academia to create the right treatment for the right patient to achieve the right outcome, eliminating suffering and death from cancer.”

GE is also investing in the development of a first-in-kind “super database,” which will consolidate clinical, pathology, therapy and outcomes data in one place to enable analysis and further accelerate innovation. This super database will be available in collaboration with leading cancer research, NGO 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 & Human Services.

New Technologies to Improve Screening and Diagnosis

GE will launch new innovations that improve screening and breast cancer diagnosis, and help doctors ensure patients receive the right therapy for their tumor type.

John Dineen, president and CEO, GE Healthcare, said: “Cancer is a complex disease and because every patient’s cancer is different, oncologists need advanced tools to ‘fingerprint’ individual cancerous tumors. GE Healthcare continually breaks new ground in advanced diagnostic and molecular imaging equipment, partnering with hospitals and physicians to better manage patients throughout the cancer journey. Today and as we look to the future, we will continue to help doctors characterize cancer at the cellular level. This empowers them with the targeted information they need to prescribe the most accurate and effective therapy for their patient the first time.”

GE announced SenoCase™, a breakthrough new ultra-portable mammography device concept that will take a traditional digital mammography system and miniaturize it into an affordable portable unit the size of a large suitcase. This concept has the potential to transform access to breast health screenings for millions of women around the world, bringing life-saving technology to women where they live.

GE also previewed the game-changing SenoBright™, Contrast Enhanced Spectral Mammography (CESM), a breast screening technique that will enable more precise identification of breast cancer incidence for over one million women by 2020. SenoBright’s exclusive imaging technique, which combines digital mammography, low-and high-level x-rays and a common contrast agent, better identifies incidence of cancer, and helps clinicians better select patients requiring biopsy. SenoBright will result in lower costs by reducing unneeded procedures and improving a doctor’s ability to appropriately treat patients. SenoBright is currently 510k clearance pending at the U.S. FDA, and not available for sale in the United States. Outside the U.S., SenoBright has been installed in 17 care centers across Europe and Asia.

GE’s commitment to new oncology solutions extends through the full cancer care continuum. Among the advanced technologies that GE scientists are working on is a new positron emission tomography (PET) tracer. The goal of this tracer is to help doctors evaluate whether particular cancer treatments are working very early in the course of therapy, by measuring new blood vessel formation in tumors.

Collaboration to Expand Global Access to Care

GE also announced a three-year partnership with Susan. G Komen for the Cure to forge first-in-kind programs that bring the latest breast cancer technologies to more women in the United States and around the world. Initially, these programs will run in Wyoming, Saudi Arabia and China.
Wyoming, US: By taking an innovative approach to mobile mammography and applying 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 2011. 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.
GE will publicly track progress against its cancer commitment on

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About GE

GE  is a diversified infrastructure, finance company taking on the world’s toughest challenges. From aviation and power generation to financial services, healthcare solutions, oil and gas and rail, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at

About GE Healthcare

GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Our broad expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, performance improvement and performance solutions services help our customers to deliver better care to more people around the world at a lower cost. In addition, we partner with healthcare leaders, striving to leverage the global policy change necessary to implement a successful shift to sustainable healthcare systems.

Our “healthymagination” vision for the future invites the world to join us on our journey as we continuously develop innovations focused on reducing costs, increasing access and improving quality around the world. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, GE Healthcare is a unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE). Worldwide, GE Healthcare employees are committed to serving healthcare professionals and their patients in more than 100 countries. For more information about GE Healthcare, visit our website at

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About GE’s healthymagination Initiative

Launched in May 2009, GE’s healthymagination initiative is focused on four critical needs: low-cost technology; healthcare IT; innovation accessible to all; and consumer-driven healthcare. GE has committed that by 2015 it will:

• Invest US$3 billion in research and development to launch at least 100 innovations that will help deliver better care to more people at lower cost.
• Provide US$2 billion in financing and US$1 billion in technology to bring healthcare information technology to rural and underserved areas.
• Reduce the cost of procedures that use GE technologies and services by 15 percent and develop products tailored to underserved regions of the world.
• Reach 100 million more people every year with services and technologies essential for health.
More information at