GE Healthcare and Fraunhofer ITEM expand collaboration in molecular imaging

February 13, 2008, Munich, Germany--GE Healthcare, a unit of the General Electric Company, and the Fraunhofer Institut fur Toxikologie und Experimentelle Medizin (Fraunhofer ITEM) are extending their strategic collaboration in the field of molecular imaging and its application to the development of novel cancer therapeutics.

The research project will apply toxicogenomic and pharmagenomic techniques to establish the effectiveness and side-effects of potential new drugs at a very early stage in their development.

Within the scope of this agreement, GE Healthcare will invest research funds for three years and provide active scientific support with the company's experts in molecular imaging. The objective is to jointly develop new methods of molecular imaging for use in drug development, with a particular focus on immuno-nanoparticles for the treatment of lung and liver cancers.

The researchers' vision is ultimately to drive improvements in the drug development process, drug safety and effectiveness by performing in-vivo imaging of the molecular binding of a potential drug and its target protein in the tissues and organs in question. The team at the Institut für Toxikologie and Experimentelle Medizin will be led by Professor Jürgen Borlak, director of the institute and a leading expert in the field of toxicogenomics.

"The strategic collaboration between GE Healthcare and Prof. Borlak's team at Fraunhofer ITEM is a key step in applying the emerging field of molecular imaging to the development of new treatments for diseases such as lung and liver cancer. Within the context of our cooperation, we will be learning how to better understand the molecular causes of disease and the therapeutic effectiveness of potential drugs," says Bernd von Polheim, President of GE Healthcare, Germany. "The aim is, through the use of GE Healthcare's imaging technologies and Prof. Borlak's expertise in the field of molecular medicine, toxicology, and pharmacology, to research innovative methods for the development of new drugs."

The expanded collaboration agreement between GE Healthcare and Fraunhofer ITEM continues a highly successful cooperation in place since 2005, in which the institute has applied GE Healthcare's eXplore Vista small-animal PET, eXplore Locus small-animal CT system, and eXplore Optix, a near-infrared fluorescence time-domain optical imaging system.

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