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Diagnostic imaging

GE brings new imaging technology to Hamilton

HAMILTON, Ont. – Hamilton was selected by GE Healthcare to be the first site in the world to receive new prototype technologies for use in a molecular breast imaging research program. Hamilton researchers will design and lead clinical trials to evaluate new technologies which use molecular imaging probes that target breast cancer.

This cutting-edge strategy has the potential to find very small tumours, leading to early intervention. Trials will be geared towards high-risk women who are not currently well served by mammography.

GE Healthcare chose Hamilton because of the strong partnership among the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (, the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (, and the Oncology and Nuclear Medicine programs at McMaster University ( and Hamilton Health Sciences (

Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation has committed almost $435 million since 2003 to support the world-leading work of these institutions, and is contributing $450,000 toward the project through the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.

“The molecular breast imaging project is great news for Hamilton, Ontario and Canada. Being the world’s first site to receive these GE Healthcare technologies speaks to the expertise of our clinicians and researchers,” said Murray Martin, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hamilton Health Sciences. “It also symbolizes the power of what can be achieved through collaboration between clinical, research, industry and government partners in the interest of advancing knowledge to improve patient care.”

“Our goal is for cancer to be diagnosed at the earliest stage,” said Dr. Tom Hudson, President and Scientific Director, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. “These technologies may have a significant impact on care for high-risk patients whose tiny tumours cannot be seen by mammography. We hope this will lead to earlier detection, better treatment and ultimately, save lives.”

Each year in Ontario, 8,500 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. According to the Mayo Clinic, when localized breast cancer is caught at an early stage, the survival rate is 98 percent.

“One of the global challenges in cancer is that it is diagnosed late in the disease process, leading to a poorer outcome than when the tumour is small. Our goal is to be able to detect a tumour when it can be removed at an early stage,” said Dr. Hudson.

“We are supporting the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization, which is working on new radiopharmaceutical probes to diagnose breast cancer,” said Dr. Hudson. “And we are funding this new imaging project, which uses the CPDC’s probes, because the technologies may have a significant impact on care. We hope that it will offer patients with tumours too small to be seen by mammography, long-term cancer-free survival.”

“At GE Healthcare, we are dedicated to early detection, and developing technologies to better manage breast disease. We are thrilled with the possibility of bringing to Ontario and to the CPDC a new breast imaging technology platform, the first of its kind, to be utilized as part of their clinical study,” said Peter Robertson, General Manager, GE Healthcare Canada.

For its part, Ontario is the largest hub of life sciences activity in Canada and the fourth largest biomedical research centre in North America.