Healthcare Technology Featured Article

November 09, 2012

GE Healthcare Acquires Ultrasound Product Manufacturer U-Systems, Inc.

GE Healthcare has acquired a manufacturer of ultrasound products to screen for breast cancer. The manufacturer is U-Systems Inc., which operates in Sunnyvale, California and Phoenix, Arizona.

The price of the acquisition is not being disclosed at this time, however the move is being celebrated among those at GE Healthcare, as U-Systems’ technology will help GE to produce better images of breast tissue for more accurate and efficient diagnoses of breast cancer.

U-Systems has developed the only ultrasound system in the U.S. capable of screening for breast cancer in women with upwards of 50 percent dense breast tissue – a previously impossible feat.

The prospects offered by such technology are great not only for GE Healthcare, but for women everywhere.

“Mammography is an effective tool at finding breast cancer, but it doesn’t work equally well in everyone,” explained Rachel Brem, a physician as well as the principal investigator for the clinical study conducted using U-Systems’ technology.

The study was run in the New England Journal of Medicine, which published findings including that women with dense tissue in 75 percent or more of the breast have a significantly higher risk of developing breast cancer – four to six times more than the risk among women with little or no dense breast tissue. 

Image via Shutterstock

Brem discussed the findings, saying that “For the more than 40 percent of women who have dense breasts, this is a significant advancement.”

The specific issue U-Systems has been able to combat is that dense breast tissue decreases mammography’s effectiveness to detect cancer.

How much of a difference does the U-System system make?

The clinical study also found that doctors detected 35.7 percent more cancers in women with dense breast tissue using the U-System mammography versus mammography alone. The implications of such a technological success are grand – not only for GE Healthcare, the health care division of General Electric Co. which makes equipment for digital mammography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast, but for the future of breast cancer detection worldwide.

U-Systems’ technology was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for breast cancer screening in September 2012, and has since been implemented.

Edited by Braden Becker

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