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Press Release

GE to Speed Fight against Cancer, starting with Breast Cancer

September 15, 2011

$100 million open innovation challenge to find and fund ideas to accelerate detection of breast cancer and enable more personalised treatment
New mobile mammography concept SenoCase™ to transform access to screening in underserved areas
SenoBright™, an exclusive imaging technique, improves accuracy of breast exams and helps doctors better identify patients who need biopsies
GE to invest $1 billion on cancer R&D over five years
Formation of cancer coalition in Australia to expand access to mammography screening and breast cancer technology

Australia, September 16, 2011 -- (NYSE: GE) -- GE and leading healthcare and financial partners today 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 individualised cancer care.

GE CEO and Chairman Jeff Immelt and several venture capital partners today 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 $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 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."

President & CEO, GE Australia & New Zealand, Steve Sargent said that if we can bring about even a one per cent reduction in the cancer death rate, every day one Australian family will be spared the loss of a loved one to cancer.

"Similarly, if we can work to reduce the cancer cost burden by even one per cent, Australia will save $190 million annually. The opportunity to work with government and the Australian research and healthcare community towards such outcomes is both exciting and humbling," said Mr Sargent.

Professor John Boyages, Director at Westmead Breast Cancer Institute said, "One in nine Australian women will develop breast cancer before the age of 85 years and sadly, this affects not just the individual, but families, friends, colleagues and communities.

"To win our fight against breast cancer, we need more knowledge about the disease, we need widely accessible breast screening and personalised treatment options.

"The Westmead Breast Cancer Institute aims to offer women with breast cancer a ray of hope and has created an innovative, new and fully integrated care model to improve access and create a better quality patient experience. We are committed to delivering the best possible information, advice, treatment and care to patients with breast cancer and GE has been a valuable technology partner in helping us to achieve this goal and improve patient outcomes.

"An integrated screening and treatment program has led to a 35% reduction in breast cancer mortality in the West of Sydney which now has one of the lowest mortality rates in the world.

"Through commitments that span the entire patient journey like the one GE has made today, we're making progress that can transform what it means to be diagnosed with breast cancer," said Professor Boyages.

Open Innovation to Save Lives
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 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.

Richard Head, Director of CSIRO's Preventative Health Flagship said "Australia is ideally placed to bring to bear multidisciplinary teams to look at the wicked problem of cancer. We have an outstanding pool of medical and scientific researchers and the GE healthymagination Challenge is truly a unique and exciting opportunity to bring to life research discovery to make a meaningful impact."

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 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 miniaturise 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.

Collaboration to Expand Access and Care in Australia
In Australia, GE is in the process of forming a Cancer Coalition with a number of new partners including research agencies, patient advocacy groups, clinical advisors, leading doctors and specialist cancer service and technology providers to increase access to advanced breast cancer screening technologies. GE is working collaboratively with its partners to drive a comprehensive and new research study to assess, explore and evaluate innovative approaches to address breast cancer in Australia. GE also plan to work collaboratively with universities and clinical centres to ensure training of radiographers, sonographers, surgeons, pathologists and radiologists to share how they have achieved one of the lowest breast cancer mortality rates in the world.

GE will publicly track progress against its cancer commitment on

To learn more, visit Follow us on Twitter @GEaustralia or visit us on Facebook at

About GE
GE (NYSE: 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'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 $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 $2 billion in financing and $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

Joanne Woo
Corporate Communications Director, Australia & New Zealand
[email protected]
+61 409 330 731

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