A*STAR, GE Global Research in medical imaging deal
SINGAPORE—GE Global Research, the central technology development arm for GE Healthcare and all of GE's businesses, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Singapore's Agency of Science, Technology and Research, also known as A*STAR, that seeks to advance current medical imaging technologies and diagnostics to enable more accurate, earlier and faster clinical diagnoses of cancer and other diseases.
The partnership beings together the partners' deep domain expertise in biomedical, science and engineering. The MOU expands upon a productive collaboration between GE and A*STAR's Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC) using Hyperpolarized Carbon-13 technology. Early results exploring sub-second biochemical imaging in oncology applications helped pave the way for a broader scientific collaboration on projects in medical diagnostics and medical imaging. The goal is to improve diagnosis and tissue characterization in diseases that are prevalent in the Asian population, such as liver, lung and gastric cancers.
As part of the MOU, A*STAR and GE Global Research will collaborate to enhance medical imaging technologies in imaging modalities, ranging from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) to computed tomography (CT).
A recent Frost & Sullivan global market analysis report valued the medical imaging sector at about $25 billion as of 2008, with MRI and CT scanners accounting for a combined 40 percent of the total global device medical imaging market.
In one project, scientists from A*STAR's Institute of Microelectronics (IME) and GE scientists will explore the development of new imaging technologies to improve the speed and accuracy of clinical cancer diagnosis. Leveraging IME's network and partnerships with the microelectronics industry, the companies say the project could result in the development of a new local industry for Singapore in the healthcare technologies area.
In another project, the SBIC and GE plan to develop novel imaging markers for hepatic cellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer in Asia. This project will integrate biomedical imaging and preclinical model development expertise from SBIC with GE's molecular diagnostics technology to develop innovative, proprietary platforms to help advance the unique characterization of HCC in each patient. In this manner, the goal is that a specific type of cancer would be identified and the therapy tailored to each patient. This project encompasses a range of medical diagnostic technologies from imaging to molecular pathology biomarkers appropriate to HCC, relevant to the Asian population. Building on a close partnership with local hospitals, success in this project may lead to accelerated and accurate cancer diagnosis that enables more prescriptive and effective cancer treatments for patients.
"To more effectively combat cancer and other deadly diseases, more advanced diagnostic tools will be needed to help doctors become more prescriptive in their diagnoses and treatment regimens," said Michael Idelchik, vice president of Advanced Technology Programs at GE Global Research, in a statement. "Combining A*STAR's world-class biomedical and clinical expertise with GE's strengths in diagnostic and molecular imaging, we have an exciting opportunity to take medical diagnosis to this next level. Specifically, A*STAR will help us address cancers and other diseases more common in Asia and where pathology and outcomes are different as compared to the rest of the world."
Prof. Low Teck Seng, managing director of A*STAR, added, "This win-win public-private partnership between A*STAR and GE comes at an opportune time with the increasing research interest in diseases affecting the Asian population. I am confident that A*STAR's cross-disciplinary capabilities in both the biomedical and physical sciences and engineering research will complement GE's expertise in diagnostic and molecular imaging to meet today's complex healthcare challenges and enhance lives."