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Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 0:01 EDT

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Collaborates With GE Healthcare to Develop International Oncology Centers

November 13, 2008

With more than 10 million new cases every year, cancer has become one of the world’s most devastating diseases, killing an estimated 20,000 people each day. To help meet the growing demand for treatment, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) today announced collaboration with GE Healthcare, a unit of General Electric Company, to develop cancer centers internationally. This effort will provide UPMC’s world-renowned cancer expertise to patients now lacking such care. GE Healthcare will provide and service all the medical equipment that it is capable of supplying to these facilities.

The agreement between UPMC and GE Healthcare leverages UPMC’s strength in developing and operating oncology centers that offer advanced diagnosis and radiotherapy treatments close to patients’ homes and GE’s expertise and presence in international markets as a global provider of medical equipment. UPMC already operates one of the largest cancer programs in the U.S., serving 30,000 newly diagnosed patients annually through more than 40 centers in western Pennsylvania. UPMC also manages two cancer centers in Ireland.

As part of this collaboration GE Healthcare will conduct assessments to determine which markets are most appropriate for cancer centers. Key factors will include the availability of a suitable local partner, regulatory requirements and patient volumes. Once a market is selected, UPMC will negotiate definitive agreements and take responsibility with local partners for the construction, ownership and operation of the centers.

These new facilities are expected to be comprehensive cancer centers that include medical and surgical oncology, radiation, and ancillary radiology and laboratory services. “By working with global partners such as GE Healthcare, UPMC will be able to bring the most advanced cancer care more quickly to more patients internationally, who now often wait months for access to advanced treatments,” said Charles Bogosta, president of the International and Commercial Services Division of UPMC. “We expect to develop at least 25 cancer centers in Europe and the Middle East over the next decade. At the community level, cancer poses considerable challenges for the healthcare systems in poor and rich countries alike.”

In 2050, there will be 27 million new cancer cases and 17.5 million cancer deaths “simply due to the growth and aging of the population” around the world, predicts The American Cancer Society. According to the Society’s first “Global Cancer Facts & Figures” report, lack of access to medical care is one reason for the gap in cancer survival between economically developed nations and developing countries. Lifestyle factors also play a role.

Reinaldo Garcia, President and CEO at GE Healthcare International, added, “The global burden of cancer continues to increase. We are pleased to support UPMC’s worthy initiative and share its vision of improving access to high-quality healthcare delivery. Our aim is to bring quality care to developing and developed regions of the world, enabling the transformation of healthcare delivery from being reactive – when diseases are diagnosed late and could be more difficult to treat, to a proactive ‘Early Health’ model of care – possibly preventing disease before it happens, with earlier diagnosis and accurate follow-up.”

UPMC’s collaboration with GE is part of the health system’s larger strategy of commercializing its medical, technology and management expertise for the benefit of patients. The goal of these ventures is to create new revenue to support UPMC’s mission of providing excellent patient care and research. Recently in June 2008, the two organizations announced the creation of Omnyx LLC, a jointly owned company that is developing and marketing digital pathology systems that promise to revolutionize diagnostic work previously done through microscopes and glass slides.

About UPMC

UPMC is an integrated global health enterprise headquartered in Pittsburgh and one of the leading nonprofit health systems in the United States. As western Pennsylvania’s largest employer, with 50,000 employees and $7 billion in revenue, UPMC is transforming the economy of the region into one based on medicine, research and technology. By integrating 20 hospitals, 400 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, long-term care facilities and a major insurance plan, UPMC has advanced the quality and efficiency of health care and developed internationally renowned programs in transplantation, cancer, neurosurgery, psychiatry, orthopaedics and sports medicine, among others. UPMC is commercializing its medical and technological expertise by nurturing new companies, developing strategic business relationships with some of the world’s leading multinational corporations and expanding into international markets, including Italy, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Qatar. For more information about UPMC, visit our website at www.upmc.com.

About GE Healthcare

GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Our expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, performance improvement, drug discovery, and biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies is helping clinicians around the world re-imagine new ways to predict, diagnose, inform, treat and monitor disease, so patients can live their lives to the fullest.

GE Healthcare’s broad range of products and services enable healthcare providers to better diagnose and treat cancer, heart disease, neurological diseases and other conditions earlier. Our vision for the future is to enable a new “early health” model of care focused on earlier diagnosis, pre-symptomatic disease detection and disease prevention. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, GE Healthcare is a $17 billion unit of General Electric Company (NYSE:GE). Worldwide, GE Healthcare employs more than 46,000 people committed to serving healthcare professionals and their patients in more than 100 countries. For more information about GE Healthcare, visit our website at www.gehealthcare.com.