Harvard Medical School and GE Healthcare Collaborate to Fight Neurodegenerative Disease

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. & PISCATAWAY, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 11, 2005--GE Healthcare, a unit of General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), today announced a collaboration with the Harvard Center for Neurodegeneration & Repair (HCNR) to use GE Healthcare's state-of-the-art cellular imaging system, the IN Cell Analyzer, to enhance research of the human central nervous system and neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. In addition, HCNR and GE will work together to develop new software tools that will help speed disease analysis in the lab.

GE Healthcare's IN Cell Analyzer is an imaging system used by researchers in pharmaceutical and academic labs to analyze a variety of cellular processes in disease definition and drug development. The HCNR was established to develop therapies for neurodegenerative diseases through collaborative translational research. The new imaging system will help scientists decipher the molecular and pathological mechanisms of Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Huntington's disease (HD), ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), and multiple sclerosis (MS).

“We can see cells more clearly and how they react to specific drugs. This gives our researchers a better view of complex neurological processes that impact the progression of diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.”

"This collaboration could result in a better understanding of degenerative diseases that affect the brain, which is currently not well understood by the medical community," said Stephen Wong, PhD, P.E., Director of the HCNR Center for Bioinformatics, and an associate professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School. "We can see cells more clearly and how they react to specific drugs. This gives our researchers a better view of complex neurological processes that impact the progression of diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease."

"We believe GE's innovative disease research technologies combined with the ground-breaking research being done at HCNR will, ultimately, enhance the efficiency of healthcare and the quality of patient care," said Joel McComb, President of Discovery Systems at GE Healthcare.

About Neurogenerative Disease in the United States

-- Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, HD, ALS and MS are all examples of neurodegenerative disease.

-- In the United States, it is estimated that 60,000 new cases of Parkinson's are diagnosed each year, in addition to the 1.5 million Americans who currently have the disease. www.parkinson.org

-- An estimated 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease and the number will continue to grow - by 2050 the number of individuals with Alzheimer's could range from 11.3 million to 16 million. www.alz.org

-- Of the U.S. population living today, over 300,000 Americans will die from ALS. www.projectals.org Based on U.S. population studies, a little over 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year (approximately 15 new cases a day). It is estimated that as many as 30,000 Americans have the disease at any given time. www.alsa.org

-- One out of every 10,000 Americans has HD and 200,000 more are at risk of developing the fatal genetic disease. www.hdsa.org

-- Over 200,000 Americans currently suffer from MS and every week about 20 more are diagnosed. www.nationalmssociety.org

About GE Healthcare

GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies that are shaping a new age of patient care. GE Healthcare's expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring and life support systems, disease research, drug discovery, and biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies is helping physicians detect disease earlier and tailor personalized treatments for their patients. GE Healthcare offers a broad range of products and services that are improving productivity in healthcare and enhancing patient care by enabling healthcare providers to better diagnose and treat cancer, heart disease, neurological diseases, and other conditions.

GE Healthcare is a $15 billion unit of General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) headquartered in the United Kingdom. Worldwide, GE Healthcare employs more than 43,000 people committed to serving healthcare professionals and their patients in more than 100 countries. For more information about GE Healthcare, visit our website at www.gehealthcare.com.

About Harvard Center for Neurodegeneration & Repair (HCNR)

When the HCNR launched in 2001, it brought together neuroscientist and neurology researchers working at Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Children's Hospital, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, and McLean Hospital.

In 2003 this community was extended to include investigators at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and the Schepens Eye Research Institute, and in the fall of 2004 the community was further extended to include all investigators from across Harvard.

Throughout this time, our aim has been to rapidly apply basic neuroscience discoveries to clinical needs, with an ultimate objective of reducing the impact of neurodegenerative disease. Our strategy is based upon the principle that a well organized and focused community of like-minded investigators is the best approach to comprehensively tackling these diseases. Working with a broad spectrum of researchers, we encourage the rapid application of basic neuroscience discoveries to clinical needs, and reducing duplication by drawing researchers into a cooperative, integrated but non-bureaucratic assembly. For more information about HCNR, visit our website at http://www.hcnr.med.harvard.edu


GE Healthcare
Kristin Silady, 732-457-8149
Harvard Medical School
Judith Montminy, 617-432-0442

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