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A picture of health.

SEDGFIELD technology firm Kromek has secured a four-year contract with a leading medical school in America to develop an advanced system for breast cancer detection and diagnosis.

The contract, which has been funded with $4m from the US National Institutes for Health, represents one of very few scientific programmes, globally, with the potential to dramatically improve the way in which breast cancer is detected and subsequently treated.

Although X-ray mammography has saved many lives and is considered the imaging mode of choice for early detection of breast cancer, one of its limitations is that the recorded image represents a 3D object, but only in 2D, meaning varied tissue structures like normal breast tissue versus tumour tissue, can be difficult to distinguish.

Kromek and NOVA - the California-based company it acquired this year - have developed a solution to the challenge of achieving better resolutions of breast tissue, without increasing doses of radiation for patients.

Chief Executive Arnab Basu said: "We are extremely excited by this contract''s potential to significantly advance clinical diagnostics, in the field of breast cancer detection, and potentially way beyond.

"The programme is at an early stage, but to be working with University of Massachusetts Medical School on behalf of the NIH is proof of the unique technological advantages Kromek and NOVA offer, and the contribution we can make to improved detection systems in the medical field."

Dr Stephen Glick, Professor of Radiology at UMASS, said they had looked far and wide for a suitable business partner. "UMASS is one of the world's few research groups investigating the use of X-ray CAT scan imagers for use in breast cancer detection and diagnosis. It was therefore essential that we selected an innovative and cutting-edge partner to join the programme. The modality we are using holds unique promise for the medical imaging market. We are looking forward to working together with Kromek and NOVA towards a solution that could change the way breast cancer detection is carried out for many years to come."

The contract lends further weight to Kromek's standing in the medical imaging market, following the announcement earlier this month about their work with Siemens on CT imaging development in Germany and the US. The market for medical imaging is expected to reach $6.6bn by 2014.

Kromek, which now employs 50 people, specialises in the development of technology solutions for a range of commercial markets.

It was recently given the EU green light for its pioneering product which will help end the ban on passengers taking liquids on to planes. The company has spent years developing its colour X-ray liquid detection systems - and has now received official European certification to provide the product to all European airports.

In 2009, Arnab Basu won Young Entrepreneur of the Year at Ernst and Young's coveted business awards. The company was also named Best Security SME at the 2009 Global Challenge Awards, and then received $400,000 from the Technical Support Working Group (TSWG) department of the US government, the national research and development arm for combating terrorism at home and abroad.

Earlier this year, Kromek acquired NOVA, strengthening its portfolio in imaging and detection technology, and establishing a permanent presence in the US.


EXCITED BY POTENTIAL: Arnab Basu outside Kromek's Sedgefield headquarters Picture by IAN COOPER
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Dec 10, 2010
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