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New mammography system demonstrates Fujifilm’s commitment to women’s health

By Jacqui Thornton, health journalist

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New Amulet Sophinity mammography system is less painful for women, easier for radiographers and provides sharper images for radiologists to detect cancer.

For some women, breast screening is a necessary but uncomfortable, potentially life-saving procedure. For others, having a mammogram can be painful, due to the compression of the breast tissue needed to get a clear reading.

The process can cause anxiety, being in a small room overwhelmed by a machine towering above them, exacerbated by a recall if the result is unclear. For those who are attending a clinic having found a lump or other symptom of cancer, it can be a very frightening time.

To solve many of these concerns, Fujifilm Healthcare Europe is launching a new AI supported mammography platform, developed in collaboration with radiologists and radiographers, to offer the best possible experience for all women.

Amulet Sophinity, which was revealed in February at the European Congress of Radiology 2024 in Vienna, uses new compression technology which offers relief from the pressure that can cause discomfort.

It is also a less intimidating machine, with the gantry height reduced. Further, it produces higher quality, sharper images than its predecessor with low dose radiation, and has a better user-friendly design to assist radiographers, reducing wrist pain during operation.

The AI supports the patient positioning by showing the skin line and nipple position via a projection to the compression paddle of previous mammograms from the patient, using a function called Positioning MAP.

Another algorithm (Positioning Analysis) gives immediate feedback after the exposure, demonstrating how well the exam meets the patient positioning criteria, saving time and avoiding unnecessary recalls for the patient.

And it can instantly compare patient positioning by analysing images with previous mammograms from the patient, using a function called Positioning MAP.

It’s part of a new focus on women’s health by Fujifilm, which spans obstetrics, gynaecology and bone disease, and has given rise to a new brand name for these solutions called ‘InnoMuse’ -signifying innovation for all women.

In Vienna, Fujifilm held a special evening event showcasing Amulet Sophinity and revealing the new focus. Toshiyuki Nabeta, corporate vice president and general manager of the Medical Systems, R&D Center in Tokyo, flew in to address the audience.

He said: “We want to be the backbone to the health of all women with our diverse and cutting-edge technologies. We want to be the pillar of support for them to live to the fullest.  We are here for all women to have a healthy tomorrow they can celebrate.”

Earlier at the ECR, staff at Fujifilm’s booth showed off its comprehensive package for radiologists looking for malignancies.

They include 2D mammography and 3D tomosynthesis using Amulet Sophinity and its predecessor Amulet Innovality, as well as the Arrietta Ultrasound Scanning system, which can be used to detect cancer in younger women with more dense breast tissue.

Plus, Fujifilm is the only medical diagnostic company to offer specialist Open MRI scanning which enables radiologists to perform breast biopsies at the same time as the imaging, using the Oasis Velocity.

The new mammography platform – named Sophinity as a combination of sophisticated and infinity – has been trialled in two sites in Germany, already supporting over 600 women. It will now be piloted in new areas before a commercial launch later in the year.

Jörg Müller, manager of women’s health product and clinical at Fujifilm Healthcare Europe, said: “Visitors to our booth loved the look and style, it’s slim and more compact, not a monster like other machines, which dominate the room.”

Müller added the beauty of the Sophinity is that it is a platform which can be added to as technologies develop. “It is future-proof.”

One of the radiologists taking a first look at the Sophinity was Dr Anna Russo, who works as a radiologist at the L’IRCCS Ospedale Sacro Cuore Don Calabriain Negrar in northern Italy. She said she hoped it would be installed there before the end of the year.

She has used Fujifilm’s mammogram machines for 10 years and said the company offers a full range of diagnostics to help female patients through a difficult time.

“Fujifilm offers possibilities for all of the exams that women need to detect breast cancer.”

Dr Russo was particularly impressed by the clinical advancements of the new system.

She said: “The image quality of the microcalcifications which are a sign of cancer is improved. The morphology of the breast – the glandular tissue, the adipose tissue and the blood vessels – it’s a better representation of all the tissue.”

Patients with suspected cancer usually need an MRI scan after a biopsy to confirm cancer, which Dr Russo describes as the gold standard. But the new Fujifilm machine can avoid the need for MRI, as it can perform a contrast mammogram which detects the vascularity of the lesion, which is a sign of malignancy.

Aside from the clinical improvements, she said it would be preferred by her patients due to the Comfort Comp function.

“The pain due to the compression is one of their main concerns and some women feel more pain than others. With this new machine the way it compresses the breast means less pain.”

Amanda Leitch, an application specialist with Fujifilm Healthcare Europe, and a former NHS radiographer, said once the right pressure has been reached, the compression is released, while still being able to give a clear reading.

“It’s like a mattress which keeps its indentation of the body once you have got off the bed,” she explained.

Dr Russo added that her radiographers would also benefit from the new design, as the fine pressure adjustment is operated by the flat of the hand not a dial which has reportedly caused wrist pain. “The ergonomic design is very interesting.”

Mandy Muller, the head of human resources at Fujifilm Healthcare Europe, said she was delighted that the company had decided to specialise in women’s health.

“For any woman who’s going through a medical dilemma, it’s a scary time. I’m eternally grateful to know that Fujifilm is supporting women, helping give them peace of mind with a minimally invasive procedure.

“To be part of a company that is focusing on that is inspirational.”

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Labcorp launches screening test to identify preeclampsia risk sooner

The new screening tool is capable of assessing the risk of preeclampsia sooner, the test maker says

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Labcorp has launched a screening test that can assess the risk of preeclampsia before 34 weeks of pregnancy.

Preeclampsia is a high blood pressure disorder that can develop during pregnancy or postpartum and is a leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality worldwide.

Roughly one in 25 pregnancies in the US is affected by preeclampsia, which poses an even greater risk for non-Hispanic black women, who experience the condition at a 60 per cent higher rate compared to white women.

In January, Labcorp announced the launch and availability of an FDA-cleared blood test for risk assessment and clinical management of severe preeclampsia during the second and third trimesters.

The first trimester test uses four early pregnancy biomarkers to provide a risk assessment with up to 90 per cent sensitivity, nearly twice the sensitivity of assessing typical maternal history or biophysical factors alone.

According to Labcorp, the test results provide risk identification earlier than traditional symptoms, such as hypertension or protein in the urine, which tend to develop around 20 weeks gestation.

Eleni Tsigas, chief executive officer of the Preeclampsia Foundation, said: “Our organisation celebrates this innovative new test offering.

“Research shows that patients and providers want access to more tools that better predict progression to preeclampsia, especially for those patients with low- to average-risk or those with first-time pregnancies for whom there is some uncertainty.”

Dr Brian Caveney, chief medical and scientific officer at Labcorp, added: “Labcorp is committed to advancing maternal and foetal health through innovative diagnostic and screening solutions.

“This new first trimester blood test is another significant milestone in our mission to improve health and improve lives. By giving healthcare providers another tool to assess preeclampsia risk in their pregnant patients with objective biomarkers, we’re helping to advance prenatal care and improve outcomes for mothers and their babies.”

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People with HIV can be sperm and egg donors

A change in law will allow people with non-transmissible HIV in the UK to donate gametes to partners

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Same-sex couples with non-transmissible HIV will now be able to donate eggs or sperm and become parents.

People with HIV will able to donate their sperm or eggs to their partners, as the law in the UK is updated.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act will be amended via a statutory instrument to allow people with non-transmissible HIV – with a viral load low enough not to pass on – to donate eggs or sperm, known as gametes, as part of fertility treatment to their partners.

Under current rules on IVF, only a male partner with HIV can give their sperm to their female partner and not to anyone else.

The law change will also eliminate extra screening costs for female same-sex couples undertaking reciprocal IVF treatment.

The government says this is part of wider work to improve access to IVF for everyone and ensure same-sex couples have the same rights as a man and woman when trying to conceive.

“These changes will allow more people to fulfil their dream of becoming parents,” said UK health minister, Maria Caulfield.

“We have changed the law to ensure equality for people living with HIV when accessing IVF, allowing them to donate their eggs and sperm.

“In addition, the change will allow female same-sex couples to access IVF with no extra screening costs, the same as heterosexual couples.”

She added: “These changes will help create a fairer system by removing barriers to accessing fertility care as we have set out in the Women’s Health Strategy.”

The changes to the law will allow people with HIV to donate their gametes to family, friends and known recipients.

The regulations include an updated definition of partner donation to enable female same-sex couples wishing to donate eggs to each other to undergo the same testing requirements as heterosexual couples.

Under current rules, female same-sex couples hoping to conceive via reciprocal IVF must first go through screening for syphilis and genetic screening, such as cystic fibrosis, which can cost over £1,000, while heterosexual couples do not need to undergo this screening.

Julia Chain, chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), said: “The HFEA welcomes the news that legislation regarding partner donation in relation to reciprocal IVF, and gamete donation from those who have HIV with an undetectable viral load, has now been proposed in Parliament.

“Fertility treatment is helping more people than ever to create their family, and everyone undergoing fertility treatment should be treated fairly.

“For known donation from individuals with undetectable HIV, we anticipate that the first clinics may be able to begin to offer this treatment around 3 months following a change in the law.

“We encourage any patients or donors who may be affected by these changes to visit the HFEA website to find out free and impartial information, including about how to choose a fertility clinic.”

Minister for equalities, Stuart Andrew MP, added: “Treatment for HIV has improved significantly, saving countless lives, but the stigma surrounding it persists – a stigma which often prevents people from getting tested and seeking treatment.

“These changes will help to reduce that stigma, making it clear that people with HIV can live full and happy lives. I am delighted by these changes which will enable more people to experience the joy of becoming parents.”

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Portfolia invests total of US$65m into women’s health companies

The platform has invested in 47 femtech start-ups to date

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Trish Costello, founder and CEO of Portfolia

The US venture investing platform Portfolia has announced it has invested a total of US$65m into women’s health companies and solutions.

Portfolia aims to create, educate and support the largest community of women investors in the world.

The company says it was amongst the first to recognise the “immense” potential of women’s wealth, with women’s health at the forefront.

To date, Portfolia has made investments in 112 companies with 47 of those women’s health companies being femtech and active aging specific.

Some of these include Madison Reed, Maven, Everly Health, Bone Health, Veana, Your Choice, Future Family, Willow, Hey Jane, Lighthouse Pharma, L-Nutra and JoyLux.

The total companies Portfolia has invested in are estimated to serve over 102 million customers in 115 countries worldwide.

These companies have a combined value of over US$17bn, with over US$1bn in revenue and 10,000 employees worldwide.

According to Portfolia, almost 70 per cent of these businesses are led by female CEOs, and 49 per cent are led by BIPOC individuals.

“At Portfolia, we believe in the power of activating our wealth for returns and impact,” said Trish Costello, founder and CEO of Portfolia.

“Today, women in the United States have unprecedented access to wealth – with over US$25tn of wealth in the US and almost 50 per cent of it owned by women.

“This wealth is power – power to create financial change and invest in the companies and businesses that matter to us and meet our needs/desires.”

She added: “Our commitment goes beyond traditional venture capital – we’re pioneering change, saving lives, and creating opportunities for all, while creating the most powerful community of women investors globally, and the first to activate our wealth to shape the future of healthcare.”

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