• Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

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North East firm unveils revolutionary software to detect osteoporosis during routine mammograms

IBEX CEO Dr Paul ScottDr Paul Scott, CEO of IBEX based on NETPark, in County Durham

WOMEN could be assessed for osteoporosis during routine mammogram appointments in a groundbreaking move poised to transform the landscape of women’s health screening.

Revolutionary imaging software that can detect signs of brittle bone disease has been integrated into a new, state-of-the-art diagnostic mammography system, Cybele, which was unveiled at the recent European Congress of Radiology (ECR).

Recognised for its ‘Greatest Potential Benefit to the NHS’, the innovative technology would allow patients being screened for breast cancer to also be assessed for osteoporosis, a disease affecting around 1 in 3 women today.

Dr Paul Scott, CEO of IBEX, the company behind the medical imaging software, said the integrated technology would allow radiographers to take an X-ray of the wrist on the mammography machine. This could aid the early detection and treatment of osteoporosis, among the most impacted group in society – post menopausal women and those undergoing breast cancer treatment.

Dr Scott said: “Our software allows healthcare providers to efficiently screen for osteoporosis, making use of the existing mammography infrastructure and the touchpoint with the patient. With the addition of a fast and painless X-ray of the wrist, this method will significantly enhance the ability of clinicians to monitor bone health throughout a patient’s treatment and enable smarter referrals for further assessments if needed. This can all be carried out in one appointment, avoiding the hassle and anxiety of repeated hospital visits .”

Metaltronica, a global provider of diagnostic imaging equipment, will integrate IBEX’s technology into Cybele, a multimodal machine engineered to offer combined exams for women’s health. Cybele made its debut at the ECR in Vienna and will be sold internationally, including in the UK market.

Dr Scott said: “Our collaboration with Metaltronica marks a significant step forward in women’s health screening. We’re revolutionising the way healthcare providers approach preventive care for women.”

Women are almost two times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men, attributed, in part, to the impact of declining oestrogen levels post-menopause on bone health. Fragility fractures resulting from osteoporosis have a significant impact on quality of life and mortality and cost the global healthcare system over $400bn a year.

Aromatase inhibitors, often used in the treatment of hormone-sensitive breast cancer, negatively impact bone density. In November last year, Anastrozole, an aromatase inhibitor, was licensed to be used in the UK as a preventative treatment in women at high risk of developing breast cancer.

Dr Alice Leaver, Consultant Breast Radiologist at Gateshead Health Foundation NHS Trust, welcomed IBEX’s technology. She said: “The NHS is constantly striving to provide excellent and efficient patient care and that includes making the way we test as convenient as possible for patients.”

IBEX, based on the North East’s leading science park, NETPark, in Sedgefield, has this month appointed GP and television doctor Sarah Jarvis MBE as Chief Clinical Advisor. The company is trialling its software at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, to assess how the screening is managed within the workflow of the mammography unit.

Dr Nuala Healy, Breast Radiologist at Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust, said: “Osteoporosis related fractures can have a significant impact on women’s lives and also on NHS services. This study will look at the feasibility of measuring bone health with a wrist x-ray at the same visit as a standard mammogram. It is a significant step towards potentially screening women for osteoporosis at the same time as having a screening mammogram.”

The feasibility study will be funded by part of a £95,000 Accelerating FemTech grant, awarded by Innovate UK’s Biomedical Catalyst. At Accelerating FemTech’s recent awards, IBEX’s screening technology was named as having the ‘Greatest Potential Benefit to the NHS’.