Healthcare Industry News:  Magnetic Resonance guided Focused Ultrasound 


 News Release - May 9, 2007

Enhanced MR-Guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) Guidelines Demonstrate Improved Efficacy and Durability for the Treatment of Uterine Fibroids

Additional Data Show the Prevalence and Clinical Burden of Uterine Fibroids, Cost and Adverse Events for Traditional Treatments

SAN DIEGO--(HSMN NewsFeed)--Data released today show that MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) is a more effective option for a broader population of uterine fibroid sufferers.
In a poster presented at the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) annual meeting in San Diego, Phyllis Gee, M.D. of the North Texas Uterine Fibroid Institute in Plano, Texas, showed that women undergoing MRgFUS experience rapid and sustained relief from their condition and have a reduced need for alternative, invasive treatments in the future.

GE and InSightec, a company that develops non-invasive therapy systems, developed the world's first magnetic resonance (MR) image guided focused ultrasound system. InSightec's ExAblate 2000 system, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October 2004, works exclusively in combination with GE's Signa MR system to non-invasively treat symptomatic uterine fibroids.

"These findings further underscore the utility of MRgFUS as a long-lasting, non-invasive option for the millions of women suffering from uterine fibroids," said Dr. Gee. "With these expanded treatment guidelines, we are able to successfully treat more of the tumor and virtually eliminate the need for future hysterectomies."

Additional data presented at ACOG this week by David Lee, Ph.D., Senior Director, Health Economics and Outcomes Research, GE Healthcare, showed that clinically significant uterine fibroids are common among women in their prime working years and are associated with several debilitating co-morbid conditions. The research also showed that uterine fibroid treatments impose substantial direct and indirect costs on employers, and that nearly one in three women treated surgically for uterine fibroids experiences an adverse event.

"These new data suggest that uterine fibroids impose a substantial clinical burden on women, and a tremendous economic burden on employers. MRgFUS holds the promise of lessening this burden by offering women a non-invasive treatment option for this debilitating condition," said Dr. Lee.


According to NIH, uterine fibroids are the most common, non-cancerous tumors in women of childbearing age and the second most common reason reproductive women undergo surgery. Uterine fibroids, the cause of more than 200,000 hysterectomies every year, have no known cause and only a few treatment options, also according to NIH.

According to a report by RAND Corporation, an international non-profit research organization, direct costs associated with treating uterine fibroids are more than $1 billion annually.

Traditionally, treatment options for uterine fibroids have included invasive and minimally invasive procedures such as hysterectomy, myomectomy or uterine artery embolization (UAE). Hormonal therapy, the only non-invasive treatment available, offers only temporary relief of symptoms, and fibroids frequently grow back once therapy is terminated.

Summary of Data

(1)Dr. Gee's Poster: "Enhanced MR guided Focused Ultrasound Surgery (MRgFUS) Guidelines Demonstrates Improved Efficacy and Durability for the Treatment of Uterine Myoma"

-- Patients treated under expanded and commercial treatment
guidelines achieved greater nonperfused myoma volumes and
greater symptom relief than those treated under the pivotal
study guidelines. The symptom severity score (SSS) was used to
quantify the results.

-- 86% of patients treated with commercial treatment
guidelines sustained a 10-point or greater improvement in
SSS by 12 months compared with 84% of patients treated with
expanded treatment guidelines and 71% of patients treated
with pivotal guidelines.

-- Expanded and commercial treatment guidelines resulted in
greater reduction in symptom severity score at three, six,
12 and 24 months. Durable and sustained symptom relief
lasted up to 36 months.

(1)Dr. Lee's posters: "Incidence, Prevalence, and Treatment of Uterine Fibroids in Insured Women", "Surgical Treatment for Uterine Fibroids: Adverse Events and One-Year Re-Treatment Rates", and "What Does Surgical Treatment for Uterine Fibroids Really Cost?"

-- 1 in 100 (approximately 450,000) women with employer-provided
insurance have clinically significant uterine fibroids

-- These women have a high comorbidity burden

-- Nearly one-half were treated with hysterectomy

-- Nearly one in three women treated surgically for uterine
fibroids had an adverse event

-- Approximately 7% of women treated surgically for uterine
fibroids were re-treated within a year. Treatment
failures were most common for endometrial ablation.

-- Total (direct and indirect) short-term treatment costs were
highest for hysterectomy ($17,373), followed by myomectomy,
($16,460), UAE ($14,064), and endometrial ablation ($6,825)

-- Lost work and disability accounted for 18.0% of total
costs for UAE, compared to 28.7% for endometrial ablation,
40.5% for hysterectomy, and 42.1% for myomectomy


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

About InSightec

InSightec is a privately held company owned by Elbit Medical Imaging (EMI), General Electric, private investors, and employees. It was founded in 1999 to develop the breakthrough MR guided Focused Ultrasound technology and transform it into the next generation operating room. Headquartered near Haifa, Israel, the company has over 135 employees and has invested more than $100 million in research, development, and clinical investigations. Its US headquarters are located in Dallas, Texas. For more information, please go to:

About North Texas Uterine Fibroid Institute

North Texas Uterine Fibroid Institute is a group of prominent Obstetrician-Gynecologists with extensive experience treating uterine fibroids by multiple modalities. These physicians will evaluate and screen patients for treatment of their uterine fibroids with Magnetic Resonance guided Focused Ultrasound Surgery. This innovative new technology is making a difference in the lives of many women worldwide. For more information about North Texas Uterine Fibroid Institute, please visit:

Source: GE Healthcare

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