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News Release

For immediate use

March 5, 2007

UNC and GE Healthcare partner to create
Center for Research Excellence in Breast Cancer Imaging

CHAPEL HILL – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced today (March 5) a multi-year agreement with GE Healthcare to establish a Center for Research Excellence in Breast Cancer Imaging within the university’s Biomedical Research Imaging Center. This is a university-wide center for excellence created to advance and commercialize research and technological developments to detect, diagnose and treat breast cancer.  

With funding from GE Healthcare, the center will perform important breast imaging research projects including an evaluation of the role of contrast-enhanced mammography in breast cancer diagnosis, the development of image processing in improved digital mammography and mechanisms to reduce radiation dose to patients who undergo mammography. 

An advisory board comprising GE and UNC representatives will consult with the center on its research, education and service agenda.     

The director of the center will be Dr. Etta D. Pisano, Kenan Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Engineering and former chief of breast imaging at UNC. Dr. Pisano was the lead investigator of the Digital Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial, a study which assessed the diagnostic accuracy of film and digital mammography in screening women for breast cancer. In addition to authoring more than 100 peer-reviewed and invited publications, Pisano has participated as a speaker in more than 300 scientific and educational programs and has served as principal investigator on over 20 research studies in breast imaging. 

“I am very excited about this opportunity to work with GE, a great medical imaging company, to create and test new tools for finding breast cancer earlier,” Pisano said.

Within this partnership, GE and UNC will also organize an annual lecture in breast cancer imaging featuring an internationally renowned expert in addition to imaging seminars conducted by industry leaders and researchers.

“GE is committed to supporting the efforts of this center to validate new technological advances in tackling one of the most prevalent forms of cancer worldwide,” said Mike Barber, chief technology officer for GE Healthcare.

The Biomedical Research Imaging Center was formed in 2005 to support image-based biomedical research across the UNC system. Building on internationally recognized programs in medical imaging at both Chapel Hill and N.C. State University, the goals of the BRIC are to provide an environment that promotes multi-disciplinary/multi-departmental research interactions that can more effectively address problems in biomedical imaging. The BRIC will be a statewide resource serving researchers across the state of North Carolina in a central facility that will handle the acquisition, processing, analysis, storage, and retrieval of images.

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UNC News Services contact: Becky Oskin, (919) 962-8596 or
GE Healthcare contact: Arvind Gopalratnam, (262) 501-0777 or