USA — Bayer and Hologic have joined forces with a singular mission: to revolutionize breast cancer scans.

Their visionary approach combines Bayer’s cutting-edge imaging contrast agents with Hologic’s state-of-the-art mammography hardware, offering a powerful new tool in the fight against breast cancer.

At the heart of this collaboration lies Contrast-Enhanced Mammography (CEM). CEM involves the administration of iodinated contrast agents intravenously, coupled with the use of two types of X-rays: low energy, akin to digital mammography, and high energy.

Crucially, high-energy X-rays have a stronger affinity for iodine, potentially enhancing cancer detection.

This innovative approach enables the visualization of blood flow and vessels leading in and out of tumors, adding a dynamic dimension to traditional scans.

CEM proves invaluable in cases where previous breast scans yielded inconclusive results or during the planning phase prior to tumor surgery.

Moreover, it offers a cost-effective alternative to contrast-enhanced MRI, particularly when MRI machines are either unavailable or unsuitable for the patient.

A global focus on advancement

Bayer and Hologic’s collaborative efforts will extend across Europe, Canada, and the Asia-Pacific region. A key facet of this partnership is hands-on training for radiologists and clinicians in the administration of injectable contrast agents during digital mammography.

Earlier this year, Bayer secured European approval for its Ultravist contrast agent for CEM—a significant milestone.

Ultravist, an iodine-based agent, has previously been employed in X-rays, angiography, and CT scans across more than 100 countries.

In June, it received FDA approval for CEM use, further cementing its role as a game-changing contrast agent.

The evolution of CEM traces back to 2011 when GE HealthCare obtained 510(k) clearance for the first CEM system.

Subsequent research has consistently demonstrated its heightened sensitivity, especially in women with dense breast tissue.

This innovation holds the potential to expedite cancer confirmation, thereby freeing up imaging resources for other patients. It also plays a pivotal role in intermediate and high-risk screening.

Hologic, a leader in CEM provision, furnished a third of the machines in the United Kingdom as of the previous year.

Their alliance with Bayer signifies a strategic fusion of CEM expertise with a manufacturer of approved injection systems—a crucial step in streamlining the adoption of CEM within healthcare systems.

A global impact on breast cancer diagnosis

Tanja Brycker, Vice President of Strategic Development, Breast and Skeletal Health, and GYN Solutions at Hologic, underscored the significance of this collaboration.

She noted, “Our partnership with Bayer will enable clinicians around the world to offer CEM as part of the breast cancer diagnostic workflow,” reflecting the global impact this endeavor is set to achieve.

While CEM holds immense promise, its adoption comes with challenges. The United Kingdom’s cost watchdog estimates that upgrading existing mammography machines for CEM can cost between £40,000 (US$49,000) to £90,000 (US$110,000).

Additionally, training and ongoing support may be necessary to equip staff to handle contrast agents, perform cannulation, operate powered injection pumps, and manage rare allergic reactions.

Despite these hurdles, the transformative potential of CEM in the fight against breast cancer remains undeniable.

Additionally, Hologic has added a new member to its board of directors, expanding the board to 10 members.

Nanaz Mohtashami is managing director at Russell Reynolds Associates, a Boston executive search firm. She leads the firm’s global medical technology, devices, and diagnostics practice, according to a press release.

“Her exceptional background in both global strategy and deep experience in the broader healthcare sector, combined with her strong team orientation, make her yet another strong addition to our board,” Steve MacMillan, Hologic’s chairman, president and CEO, said in the press release.

For all the latest healthcare industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, and YouTube Channel, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, and like us on Facebook.