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Molecular Imaging Centers in India: Making Early Cancer Detection More Accessible & Affordable

Cancer

Cancer rates have become one of the leading causes of death in India, with about 2.5 million cancer patients.

Nueclear Healthcare Ltd (NHL) and GE Healthcare have opened their first molecular imaging center in Navi Mumbai. It represents the first of a network of molecular imaging centers around the country with GE Healthcare as technology provider.

The partnership is the result of a growing need for more affordable access to advanced molecular imaging technologies such as PET/CT. Cancer rates have become one of the leading causes of death in India, with about 2.5 million cancer patients.

GE Healthcare and NHL aim/have a goal to establish 120 molecular imaging centers around the country to provide more affordable access to PET/CT imaging. Following the inaugural opening of Navi Mumbai’s center, five more centers will be commissioned in 2013. NHL is expected to offer PET/CT imaging at just Rs.10,000/- compared to Rs.18,000- 25,000 patients pay today for same services.

The goal is for the NHL network of molecular imaging centers to ultimately have twelve cyclotrons for production of bio-markers required for cancer imaging and 120 GE Discovery PET/CT imaging scanners. The PET/CT systems will help enable doctors to determine whether a suspicious growth is cancerous or benign in a single exam. Previously, doctors had to put patients through two separate scans to get similar information – with limited success.

“India has cancer rates that are comparable to the majority of developing countries,” said Dr A Velumani, Founder & Managing Director of Nueclear Healthcare Ltd (NHL) Mumbai.

“Cost has been one of the biggest barriers in advancing early cancer detection. Our goal is to remove the barrier of cost by reducing the cost to patients by half. If we make detection and treatment affordable, more people will come forward and the sheer volume will take care of our capital investments,” he added.

Cancer can be treated and controlled if detected early – in Stage I or Stage II. However, over 70% of cancers are detected at a later stage in India, when treatment is less effective and more costly. While low awareness is one significant reason, the lack resources for early cancer detection and availability of cancer experts is the other.  

The prospect of a five-fold increase in cancer cases by 2025 has prompted the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to urge the Government of India to make cancer a “notifiable disease.” This means any incidence of the disease must be reported by law to government authorities. Previously, infectious diseases like polio, plague, H1N1, H5N1 (bird flu) figure in the list of notifiable diseases. * 

“At GE, we envision a day when cancer is no longer a deadly disease. The opening of this center reinforces our commitment to cancer and reflects our current integrated portfolio and GE Healthcare’s $1B R&D investment to advance oncology solutions by 2016,” said John Dineen, President & CEO, GE Healthcare. 

“Scaling up of cancer diagnosis and treatment requires disruptive innovations and willing partners. Together with Nueclear Healthcare Ltd (NHL), we are at work for a healthier India with the goal to bring earlier access to advanced affordable cancer detection technologies to more people of India.”

 

References

* – http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs355/en/

http://www.euro.who.int/data/assets/pdf_file/0005/98393/E91946.pdf

http://www.nueclear.com/NHL_GE.aspx
 

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The partnership is the result of a growing need for more affordable access to advanced molecular imaging technologies such as PET/CT.