This morning in New York, GE’s CEO and Chairman Jeff Immelt announced an ambitious new global campaign against cancer that will combine the unique strength of GE’s portfolio of integrated cancer technologies with collaboration between GE and new partners and data sources to help clinicians provide better, more personalized care to 10 million patients around the world by 2020. To an audience of prominent cancer scientists and researchers, doctors, financial partners and employees of GE Healthcare, Immelt announced GE’s comprehensive plan to intensify the fight against cancer:
- GE is committed to spending $1 billion on cancer-related R&D over the next five years across different types of cancer.
- The first focus of the campaign is on breast cancer, and the company will fund a new $100 million healthymagination open innovation challenge by GE and several venture capital partners to find and fund the best ideas to improve breast cancer diagnostics.
- GE and Susan G. Komen for the Cure will undertake a new, three-year partnership to bring the latest breast cancer tech to more women in the U.S. and around the world, including in Saudi Arabia, China and Australia.
After the announcements, Silicon Valley legend Tim O’Reilly led two panel discussions by prominent healthcare professionals, venture capital partners and GE executives on open collaboration in healthcare and disruptive innovation in the fights against breast cancer.
New $100M Healthymagination Challenge and Big Data Initiatives
Modeled on GE’s successful ecomagination challenge, which resulted in over 5,000 submitted ideas and $134 million in investments and partnerships by GE, the new healthymagination challenge is all about improving early detection of breast cancer at the molecular level. Specifically, GE and VC partners Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, Venrock, Mohr Davidow and MPM Capital will pledge up to $100 million to fund ideas focused on helping healthcare professionals better understand (1) Triple negative cancer pathways and (2) the molecular similarities between breast cancer and other solid tumors. Submissions will be accepted through November 20, 2011.
Another component of the campaign announced today is an initiative that will tap the power of big data to spur innovation. GE is investing in an unprecedented “super database” that will consolidate clinical, pathology, therapy and outcomes data from GE’s Medical Quality Improvement Consortium, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and other collaborating organizations in one place. That data will be available to a new partnership also announced today between GE and O’Reilly Media, which will host a series of code-a-thons aimed at engaging the data science community in finding new applications for breast cancer data.
$1B in New Oncology Innovations and Solutions
GE’s investment in new technologies is centered on innovations that improve screening and diagnosis, beginning with breast cancer, and on taking a molecular approach to enable doctors to understand more about an individual patient’s condition earlier. At today’s event, GE presented several new technologies, all part of GE’s unique, integrated porfolio:
- GE SenoCase is an initial new concept in mobile mammography. Fully digital and ultra-portable, it is being designed with the goal of delivering breast cancer screening capabilities to millions of women around the world who lack access to existing screening options. The concept aims to function like GE’s full-size digital mammography system, the Senographe Essential.
- GE SenoBright Contrast Enhanced Spectral Mammography (CESM)is a technique that helps radiologists localize a known or suspected breast cancer lesion. The insights gained can help physicians decide on next steps for diagnosis, including using the information to help avoid a costly, invasive biopsy. GE estimates that by 2020, more than 1 million women worldwide will be examined using SenoBright and this will positively impact the diagnosis results for nearly 250,000 women. 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., it has been installed in 17 care centers across Europe and Asia.
- GE PET Tracer is a new Positron Emission Tomography (PET) tracer technology in development with the aim of informing doctors if particular cancer treatments are working, very early in the course of treatment, by measuring new blood vessel formation in tumors.
- GE Clarient is a cancer diagnostics company that combines diagnostic tech with pathology expertise to assess and characterize cancer. Learn more about GE Clarient’s multiplexing technology in our Q & A with Dr. John Burczak from GE Global Research.