UW, GE announce next frontier in diagnostic imaging and radiology research
Medical professionals at UW Hospital and Clinics make use of high-tech imaging equipment, like this scanner.
Imagine a place where doctors can tell patients in advance if cancer treatment will work for them, without going through an entire course of chemotherapy.
The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, GE Healthcare and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) today announced new agreements focused on bringing that vision to life.
The agreements celebrate 30-plus years of research collaboration and technology invention with an anticipated $32.9 million GE investment in a state-of-the-art imaging research facility. The center will be located in the Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research (WIMR), which is connected to the UW Health Sciences Learning Center and UW Hospital and Clinics.
The 10-year research agreement, under which GE research support is re-evaluated and committed annually, comprises GE Healthcare providing up to $32.9 million in anticipated research support, including cash funding, diagnostic imaging equipment and research personnel, to support its collaborative research program with UW’s existing Department of Radiology and Medical Physics, which plans to expand its research activities into additional space in WIMR.
A new patent and technology agreement between GE Healthcare and WARF governs the intellectual property and licensing practices of the research agreement. According to WARF, during the past 11 years collaborations between GE and UW researchers have resulted in nearly 200 invention disclosures, more than 80 filed U.S. patents and numerous licensing agreements and technology improvements.
“Through our collaboration with GE Healthcare, we will have one of the few imaging centers in the world that brings together state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging systems with physicians, engineers and scientists focused on improving patient care and personalizing medicine, in an environment that is connected to an outstanding academic medical center at UW Hospital,” says Dr. Thomas Grist, chair of the department of radiology at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.
“The center will also be a nexus for the development of new products for GE and other Wisconsin-based start-up companies that arose from research in the Departments of Radiology and Medical Physics, like Neuwave, Novellos, and Tomotherapy,” Grist adds.
Tom Gentile, president and CEO, GE Healthcare Systems, GE Healthcare, says the partnership will have not only a global but a local impact. “GE Healthcare’s research collaboration with UW–Madison not only will yield significant economic benefits to the state of Wisconsin but it will enable us to partner to create protocols that will fundamentally change clinical care both here and around the world,” Gentile said. “I am proud of GE’s longstanding relationship with these important thought leaders in medical imaging.”
“The center will also be a nexus for the development of new products for GE and other Wisconsin-based start-up companies that arose from research in the Departments of Radiology and Medical Physics, like Neuwave, Novellos, and Tomotherapy.”
Dr. Thomas Grist
The agreement ushers in the next frontier of medical and imaging research, according to UW School of Medicine and Public Health Dean Robert Golden. “The long and productive partnership with GE Healthcare has yielded many advancements in imaging, and we look forward to the next era in research,” says Golden.
Additional research programs anticipated through the joint UW/GE Healthcare program include:
- Delivering ultra-low computed tomography (CT) radiation dose imaging applications for the patient population while maintaining diagnostic quality for clinicians
- More deeply linking hybrid imaging modalities like MRI and PET to both quantify and measure disease progression
- Quantification of liver disease for early diagnosis and monitoring of treatment in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, the most common cause of liver disease
- Development of new cardiovascular imaging techniques for non-invasive diagnosis of heart and vascular disease
While molecular imaging is the next frontier in radiology research, the UW and GE Healthcare have collaborated for more than 30 years and have developed imaging equipment and protocols in use all over the world. The partnership has developed groundbreaking MRI protocols for vascular imaging. Current research in CT is developing new methods to further reduce radiation doses for children and adults to levels lower than even the latest cutting-edge innovations. Low-dose CT protocols are already in place for pediatric imaging at American Family Children’s Hospital and adult imaging at UW Hospital and Clinics.
As part of a national GE Works series of events, today’s announcement highlights GE Healthcare’s continuing commitment to and impact on Wisconsin. With 6,500 employees across the Badger State, and an economic impact on Wisconsin of more than $3.8 billion annually according to a recent third party analysis, GE Healthcare alone generates more than $10.4 million in economic activity in-state, on average, every day, and helps support more than 21,000 jobs at both GE businesses and at 1,100 supplier sites across Wisconsin.