The Discovery IQ, a Positron Emission Tomography/ Computed Tomography (PET/CT) molecular imaging system designed in India for local and global markets was released earlier this year. The $15 million 3-year project included close collaborative development with Indian nuclear medicine physicians and oncologists. The new GE Discovery IQ PET/CT comes with advanced early disease detection capabilities as well as measurements to understand a patient’s response to cancer treatment. The final products costs 40% less than pre-existing solutions.
GE Healthcare India stated, “A state-of-the-art imaging center requires a PET/CT to scan the human body and a cyclotron to produce bio-markers that can light up cancer cells.” However, setting up of a molecular imaging center calls for an investment as high as $5 million. With the support of several Indian entrepreneurs, GE has built a robust network of cyclotrons to halve the investment required to set up a molecular imaging center.
The company claims that the Discover IQ is scalable to fit the needs of the many Indian healthcare providers and is built on a platform that is upgradable on-site to meet the increasing demands of a typical fast growing Indian hospital. As per a GE commissioned study, 70-80 percent of cancer patients are diagnosed late which renders any form of treatment less effective. Additionally, more than 60 percent of patients affected with cancer do not have access to quality cancer treatment.
Out of 400 cancer centers in India, 40 percent are not adequately equipped with advanced cancer care equipment such as Linear Accelerators. About 70 percent of them do not have molecular imaging technologies and rely on low-end computed tomography technologies to measure the effectiveness of treatment. This study further suggests India will need at least 650 additional cancer care centers to adequately meet patient requirements by 2020. India today has about 120 PET/CTs operational in the country whereas the required number is an estimated 1,300 units.