Disrupt but Don’t Dismantle: The Invenia ABUS 2.0 Story
When it comes to change, complacency and fear of the unknown often encourage operating within the confines of previous experiences. Sometimes, a simple shift is perspective can lead to new possibilities.
For the last few months, GeniusLink has been working with Tanya Carrillo of GE Healthcare to stir up new research possibilities in the field of breast imaging and breast health. Tanya is the research manager for GE’s Invenia ABUS 2.0 (Automated Breast Ultrasound) device, a relative newcomer to the breast cancer screening field that’s showing lots of promise.
Invenia ABUS 2.0 is approved by the FDA to supplement mammography screenings for women with dense breast tissue. Mammograms use X-rays to capture images of the breast. Mammography images show low density tissue – such as fat – as translucent, while showing dense tissue – including connective and glandular tissue and tumors – as white. As Tanya explained, “For women with dense breast tissue, locating a tumor can be like trying to find a snowball in a snowstorm.” Ultrasound technology provides clinicians with a different view. Ultrasound “sees” dense tissue as white, while cancer appears black, providing a better opportunity for early diagnosis.
Additional imaging after a mammogram can be offered to women who have dense breasts (approximately 40 percent of women1). Supplemental imaging offers additional security for women with dense breasts to help ensure potential masses hiding in dense tissue on a mammogram are found sooner. As one of those supplemental options, Invenia ABUS 2.0 uses 3D ultrasound to capture a highly detailed view of the breast. According to GE’s research and the FDA’s Summary of Safety and Effectiveness, Invenia ABUS 2.0 has been shown to improve breast cancer detection by 35.7 percent over mammography alone, mainly revealing small, invasive and node negative cancers2.
As GE Healthcare builds the case for Invenia ABUS 2.0 supplemental imaging, Tanya knows that one of the technology’s biggest assets are those who have and continue to see its impact – current users. GE works with these users to compile and extract clinical evidence. Interestingly, Tanya pointed out that the early adopters of ABUS have not been the big academic medical centers usually seen doing research – instead adoption is being driven by individual breast imagers who are looking for a solution for their patients with dense breasts.
“We have an extremely passionate user base that possesses valuable data, but regional hospitals and women’s clinics aren’t approaching us to pitch their research ideas or applying for grant funding. Their time is spent with their daily clinical practice and in the community helping women,” Tanya said. “We needed a progressive approach to get them involved in research, which is why we turned to GeniusLink.”
GeniusLink partnered with Tanya and the Invenia ABUS 2.0 marketing team to craft an innovative challenge in the form of two calls for proposals (CFP). The first CFP aimed to engage and motivate current users to perform retrospective data review on a topic of their choosing related to automated breast ultrasound. The second CFP, which recently stopped accepting proposals, sought to engage users and non-users by soliciting prospective research related to automated breast ultrasound; basically, what research would you perform if you had an Invenia ABUS 2.0 system? The second CFP garnered an unprecedented 45 entries, for more on the second CFP here.
For both CFPs, GeniusLink developed a detailed communication and outreach strategy including email and social templates, online promotional banners, a website, the initial vetting process for submissions, and winner announcement support. The entire plan has been co-executed by the GeniusLink and Invenia ABUS 2.0 marketing teams.
“It is amazing to see these two teams come together and deliver in their areas of expertise,” said Tanya. “Our marketing team knows the product, the user base, and can gain traction among the industry’s influential organizations while GeniusLink knows how to position for innovation, invigorate a crowd, and disrupt but not dismantle.”
Our collective effort has delivered some pretty amazing results. The first CFP garnered 16 submissions, five of which were selected to receive up to $25,000 USD each in grant funding. The announcement took place at a high profile ABUS user event in September, which was part of the strategy to attract attention and increase interest. It’s important to note that the original plan was to award four grants, but Tanya and the GE Healthcare team were so impressed with the topics and users that they included a fifth.
“We were pleasantly surprised that some of our users were willing to go back and explore their data to correlate on such intricate topics; it speaks volumes about their passion for women’s health and their desire to advance an industry,” said Tanya. “And even for the more obvious topics, choosing was difficult because varying regional factors means the same research performed in two countries produce very different results.”
First round CFP winners are from the United States, Japan, China, and Switzerland. Their projects are currently being finalized and work will commence in the coming weeks. Second round winners will be announced on November 25, at a GE Healthcare research event during the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) conference in Chicago, IL. Tanya and the GE Healthcare team are excited to review the new set of submissions and look forward to being surprised – yet again – by the proposed topics.
“Our goals with this research are to show the value of our automated breast ultrasound system, have that value recognized, and to see widespread adoption of ultrasound as part of breast cancer screening guidelines,” said Tanya. “Our relationship with GeniusLink is helping us create a strong foundation to achieve our goals and I look forward to continuing our relationship throughout this journey.”
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- Pisano et al. Diagnostic Performance of Digital versus Film Mammography for Breast -Cancer Screening. NEJM 2005;353:1773
- FDA PMA P110006 summary of safety and effectiveness.