Tenet and Viatronix sign preferred-vendor agreement for virtual colonoscopy technology

Santa Barbara 06 May 2002Tenet Healthcare Corporation and Viatronix Inc. have signed a three-year, preferred-vendor agreement that will enable Tenet hospitals to offer the Viatronix V3D Virtual Colonoscopy System for colorectal cancer screening. Virtual colonoscopy is a new, innovative procedure which allows physicians to screen patients for colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States.

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Using helical CT images of the patient's abdomen, the Viatronix V3D-Colon module reconstructs three-dimensional views of the interior of the patient's colon for analysis by a physician. These reconstructed views simulate those obtained by a conventional colonoscopy, in which a physician examines the patient's colon using a fiber optic scope.

Through use of both 3D and 2D images, the Viatronix system allows physicians to evaluate the interior of the colon for the presence of polyps, a potential precursor to colorectal cancer. Patients who elect to have a Viatronix virtual colonoscopy are able to undergo less-intensive bowel cleansing than is necessary before a standard colonoscopy procedure. Since virtual colonoscopy requires no patient sedation or post-procedure recovery time, the test can take only 15 minutes to complete.

"Only approximately 15 percent of the population over 50 ever gets screened with routine colonoscopy for colorectal cancer", commented Jim Mieszala, president and chief executive officer of Viatronix. "That only a small number of people gets regular screening plays a significant part in colorectal cancer being the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, which is especially unfortunate since colorectal cancer is over 90 percent preventable when precursor polyps are detected. Our goal is to increase the population who gets screened with this innovative diagnostic procedure and make a meaningful reduction in the incidence of colorectal cancer."

Added Martin H. Paris, M.D., M.P.H., Tenet's senior vice president for medical affairs and quality improvement: "By offering this promising diagnostic tool at some of our hospitals, we hope to reach out to the significant number of patients who for physical or psychological reasons cannot or will not undergo an optical colonoscopy or other colorectal screening tests."

"Because survival rates have been shown to improve significantly when polyps or colon cancer are detected at an early stage, we hope to be able to make a real difference in reducing mortality from this devastating disease. After evaluating the various virtual colonoscopy imaging systems on the market, our conclusion was that the Viatronix system is the new screening procedure for our purposes", concluded Dr. Paris.

The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 148.000 new cases of colon cancer will be diagnosed, and 57.000 people will die from colon cancer in the United States in 2002. A number of Tenet hospitals in various key markets are currently undergoing site evaluation for adoption of the Viatronix virtual colonoscopy system.

Viatronix is an innovator and developer of diagnostic 3D imaging software, which enables physicians to interactively view patients' vital organs and anatomical structures. The Viatronix V3D has patent protected technology, which enables 3D visualisation of organs from patient data acquired by standard imaging equipment in a minimally or non-invasive method. The company's first product, the V3D-Colon, allows physicians to interactively view the colon reconstructed from a CT scan, providing visualisation of the inner surface of the colon including polyps.

The V3D-Calcium Scoring aids physicians in determining the amount of calcium plaque accumulation in the coronary arteries to facilitate cardiac analysis. Viatronix, through application of the V3D technology, is developing additional innovative products that will be useful in earlier detection of other diseases, treatment planning, and follow up evaluation. Viatronix Inc. is headquartered in Stony Brook, New York.

Tenet Healthcare, through its subsidiaries, owns, and operates 116 acute care hospitals with 28.677 beds and numerous related health care services. Its hospitals and subsidiaries employ approximately 113.750 people serving communities in 17 states. Tenet's name reflects its core business philosophy: the importance of shared values among partners including employees, physicians, insurers and communities, in providing a full spectrum of health care.


Leslie Versweyveld

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