* GE launches USD$100 million open innovation challenge globally to find and fund ideas to accelerate detection of breast cancer and enable more personalized treatment
* GE supports improved care delivery to 10 million patients around the world by 2020
* Previews revolutionary mobile mammography technology to enable access to screenings for women in rural and underserved areas
* GE to invest USD$1billion on cancer R&D over five years
Riyadh, KSA, September 18, 2011 -- (NYSE: GE) -- GE and leading healthcare and financial partners announced today a unique global challenge, open for Saudi researchers, entrepreneurs, start-ups and innovators as part of a USD$100 million global open innovation challenge that seeks to identify and bring to market ideas that advance breast cancer diagnostics and help doctors better understand and treat breast cancer. The Challenge is part of a bold new healthymagination commitment to advance and transform cancer care through increased collaboration, introduction of faster, more accurate solutions, expanded access to screening technologies and better information sharing to foster innovation. The goal of the commitment is to positively impact 10 million patients across the globe by 2020 while investing USD$1billion on cancer R&D over five years.
"We envision a day when cancer is no longer a deadly disease," said Jeff Immelt, CEO and Chairman, GE. "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".
According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide, comprising 16% of all female cancers. It is also the most common type of cancer in Saudi women, according to the Saudi Cancer Registry in KFSH & RC (King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre). Due to the stigmatization of the disease, lack of information and the fear of a positive diagnosis, many Saudi women don't get screened, increasing the risk of letting cancer develop.
For the Challenge in Saudi, GE will be reaching out to leading universities to support the program and drive female student participation in an effort to empower and encourage young women to take up the cause and develop innovative solutions. Winning entries will be offered the opportunity to engage with healthcare leaders, be provided support from GE to develop the ideas and receive an opportunity for job training and placements in related areas within the company in the Kingdom.
"GE is developing strategic partnerships with government, industry and NGOs, while at the same time reaching out to the community through www.healthymagination.me in an effort to develop a culture of understanding and innovation around the issue of breast cancer," said Majid Kaddoumi, General Manager, GE Healthcare in Saudi Arabia. "Currently, women in Saudi are putting themselves at risk because they are not going for screenings on a regular basis. We need to break the stigma and provide the resources to make cancer prevention a common practice".
Led by the Ministry of Health and in collaboration with GE and other key stakeholders including King Fahad Medical City, Saudi Breast Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, an effective care pathway designed for the Kingdom is currently being built to help improve survival rates.
GE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health have 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.
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.
One of GE's latest imaging technology concepts, GE SenoCase aims to provide access to breast cancer screening for millions of women around the globe who are not aware of or are impacted by screening today.
The GE SenoCase concept could have the potential to remove geographic barriers to regular breast health screening for women globally, especially those in rural and underserved regions -- enabling this life-saving technology to meet women where they live.
GE is also working to make significant strides forward in breast health through its most recent innovation for breast cancer diagnosis, the SenoBright Contrast Enhanced Spectral Mammography (CESM) technique. SenoBright's unique imaging method combines digital mammography, low and high energy x-rays and a common contrast agent to highlight lesions through contrast visualization. SenoBright helps radiologists localize a known or suspected 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. As of September 2011, SenoBright has been installed in care centers across Europe and Asia. SenoBright is currently pending 510(k) clearance at the U.S. FDA, and not available for sale in the U.S.
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.
Footnotes -- About the Open Innovation Challenge
GE announced today a $100 million global open innovation challenge that 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, 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 www.healthymagination.com/challenge, 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.
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 $100,000 innovation seed grants. To view the full terms and conditions, visit healthymagination.com/challenge. Winners will be announced in the first quarter of 2012.
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 Health Organization; and the U. S. Department of Health & Human Services.
GE Communications Leader, North Africa
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