Late last month, the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN; Philadelphia) along with the National Cancer Institute’s Lung Screening Study Group released the results of the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST). The study supports the idea that CT Screening in older, heavy smokers can reduce mortality rates by 20% compared to standard chest X-rays. Nearly 53,000 current and heavy smokers between the ages of 55 and 74 at 33 sites across the U.S. were enrolled in NLST. (See full study here)
It should be pointed out however that the study results show that CT Screening in these patients turned up a high number of false positives (96%) - which creates a problem before this technique can fully be adopted.
But as the saying goes in med-tech one technologies' problem is another technologies' opportunity to provide a solution. (Okay, I confess, I just made that one up).
Med-tech companies now have an opportunity to fill in the gaps in CT Screening that this study points out. Those who jump on this quickly will reap the benefits of the study findings - while those who wait, will spend the next few years playing catch-up.
One company is quickly jumping on the findings provided by NLST, and getting the word out about their technology. VisionGate (Phoenix) reported on yesterday that its LuCED test could reduce false-positives in cancer screening. Scarlett Spring, the president of the company, spoke with me and indicated there was already strong interest from several academic to have the LuCED test evaluate some samples.
More companies ought to come forward. This study is going to shine a spotlight on a lot of technologies that could have been on the backburner. It's going to take imaging and screening to a whole new level and med-tech companies need to be prepared for the ride.