- Hologic has partnered with Bayer to support the adoption of contrast-enhanced mammography (CEM) in parts of Asia Pacific, Canada and Europe.
- CEM entails administering iodinated contrast intravenously and taking images using two types of X-rays, low energy, as is used in digital mammography, and high energy. The high-energy X-rays are absorbed more strongly by the iodine, potentially improving the detection of cancer.
- Hologic has supported the rise of CEM using its 3D mammography system, and Bayer sells CEM-approved injection systems. Together, the companies will provide a product package and training intended to support adoption of CEM.
GE HealthCare received 510(k) clearance for the first CEM system in 2011. Since then, mounting evidence that the technique is more sensitive than mammography, particularly in women with dense breasts, has spurred adoption. Advocates of the technology see it as a faster alternative to MRI in confirming cancer, which could free up imaging capacity for other patients, and in intermediate and high-risk screening.
Hologic and Bayer want to help healthcare systems manage the burdens of adopting CEM. The alliance brings together one of the leading providers of CEM — Hologic provided one-third of the machines in the U.K. as of last year — and a manufacturer of injection systems approved for use in the procedure.
“Over the past several years, we’ve seen an increased interest in contrast-enhanced mammography as an additional diagnostic modality. Our partnership with Bayer will enable clinicians around the world to offer CEM as part of the breast cancer diagnostic workflow,” Tanja Brycker, vice president of strategic development, breast and skeletal health and GYN solutions at Hologic, said in a statement.
The United Kingdom’s cost watchdog said it costs 40,000 pounds ($49,000) to 90,000 pounds to upgrade existing mammography machines for CEM, adding that training and ongoing support may be needed to equip staff to handle contrast agents, cannulate people, use a powered injection pump and treat rare allergic reactions.