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Karmanos Cancer Center first in Midwest to offer latest Molecular Breast Imaging

DETROIT, Dec. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center in Detroit is the first hospital in the Midwest to offer the newest molecular breast imaging device – GE Healthcare's Discovery* NM750b. This molecular breast imaging (MBI) technology makes it possible to detect breast cancer in women considered to be at high-risk, especially those with dense breast tissue.



"Although molecular breast imaging does not take the place of mammography, it offers another option for patients who need additional imaging, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)," said Sharon Helmer, M.D., clinical service chief, Imaging Department, and director, Breast Imaging, Karmanos Cancer Center; and clinical associate professor, Wayne State University School of Medicine. "The MBI system allows better detection of very small lesions in women with dense breast tissue. Not only will this help eliminate false positives, it may help to detect breast cancers earlier when the disease is highly survivable."

MBI looks similar to and replicates the views acquired by mammography but it does not produce X-ray radiation. The compression is approximately 30 percent of a standard mammogram.  Instead, MBI uses a nuclear isotope to detect tumors. The patient receives a small injection of a radioactive tracer that locates metabolically active tumors (showing blood flow.) The device uses leading-edge, solid-state Cadmium Zinc Telluride (CZT) dual detectors that produce outstanding image quality and up-close positioning, allowing for increased imaging sensitivity right up to the chest wall. The patient can choose to sit or stand while the scanning takes place. Each image view takes up to 10 minutes. 

MBI captures clear, precise images, even for those with dense breast tissue. Unlike MRI, MBI is safe for those who have pacemakers, metal implants or other foreign bodies, and patients with renal challenges. It's also an option for those who are claustrophobic, have silicone implants, and for those whose weight or size exceeds the allowable limit for MRI.

For those with dense breast tissue, MBI's innovative technology will help reduce false positives and will outperform standard mammography. In addition, MBI is cost-effective and can safely and efficiently monitor the patient to track treatment effectiveness and to detect any signs of disease reoccurrence.

"We are extremely happy to be able to offer this exciting technology to those in our community," said Dr. Helmer. "MBI is one more powerful tool that will help us identify breast cancer early so we can provide the patient with the best treatment options and best outcome."   

GE Healthcare's Discovery* NM750b Molecular Breast Imaging is available at Karmanos Cancer Center's Walt Comprehensive Breast Center in Detroit, making it the third location to offer this technology in the United States. GE Healthcare's Discovery* NM750b was first launched in globally in 2011.

"More than 1.2 million people annually are diagnosed with breast cancer worldwide," said Nathan Hermony, GE Healthcare Nuclear Medicine general manager. "Since 1965, GE Healthcare has made significant progress in providing solutions for breast cancer detection and diagnosis that really brings a change to people's lives. This technology is intended to improve early detection of breast cancer, especially in woman that are less likely to benefit from conventional mammography or who don't have access to MRI, as in cases of dense breasts where imaging results may be inconclusive. 

"At GE Healthcare, we believe early detection is critical for improving breast cancer survival rates."

Under Dr. Helmer's leadership, the Karmanos Cancer Center's Walt Comprehensive Breast Center received the Breast Imaging Center of Excellence designation from the American College of Radiology. In 2011, the center performed 32,000 mammograms and 975 stereotactic and ultrasound-guided breast biopsies. Dr. Helmer and her team recognize the distinct needs of every patient and create an environment where each patient knows she, or he, is receiving the most comprehensive prevention and diagnostic services, and the best treatment possible.

For more information on breast cancer screening or other cancer services call 1-800-KARMANOS (1-800-527-6266) or go to

*Trademark of General Electric company

About the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
Located in mid-town Detroit, Michigan, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute is one of 41 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Caring for nearly 6,000 new patients annually on a budget of $265 million, conducting more than 700 cancer-specific scientific investigation programs and clinical trials, Karmanos is among the nation's best cancer centers. Through the commitment of 1,000 staff, including nearly 300 physicians and researchers on faculty at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, and supported by thousands of volunteer and financial donors, Karmanos strives to prevent, detect and eradicate all forms of cancer. Its long-term partnership with the WSU School of Medicine enhances the collaboration of critical research and academics related to cancer care. Gerold Bepler, M.D., Ph.D., is the Institute's president and chief executive officer. For more information call 1-800-KARMANOS or go to

About GE Healthcare
GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Our broad expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, performance improvement and performance solutions services help our customers to deliver better care to more people around the world at a lower cost. In addition, we partner with healthcare leaders, striving to leverage the global policy change necessary to implement a successful shift to sustainable healthcare systems.

Our "healthymagination" vision for the future invites the world to join us on our journey as we continuously develop innovations focused on increasing access and improving quality and affordability around the world. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, GE Healthcare is a unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE). Worldwide, GE Healthcare employees are committed to serving healthcare professionals and their patients in more than 100 countries. For more information about GE Healthcare, visit our website at For our latest news, please visit

SOURCE Karmanos Cancer Institute
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