Guerbet’s research ambition is to offer radiology professionals and patients safe and innovative solutions, whether drugs or medical devices (including “software” solutions), that meet their needs. Guerbet’s work is focused on two medical imaging segments: Diagnostic Imaging and Interventional Imaging.
The two radiology activities, Diagnostic Imaging and Interventional Imaging, are researched in the three main therapeutic areas of oncology, cardiology and neurology.
In oncology, the incidence of the most common forms of cancer (lung, breast, prostate, colorectal and liver) is constantly growing. This increase is due to a combination of longer life expectancy and known risk factors, such as smoking, unhealthy eating, stress, environmental risks, etc. This is resulting in a greater number of diagnostic examinations at increasingly early stages aimed at improving patient care and quality of life and the monitoring of patient treatment. The trend in the treatment of breast cancer is a perfect example of the role played by the various types of medical imaging, as MRI plays a vital role in screening for and/or monitoring the disease. This procedure speeds up earlier diagnosis, radically changing the treatment strategy and allowing disease-free remission from the condition. Furthermore, sentinel lymph node mapping can be used in this same disease to limit surgical intervention to what is strictly necessary.
For some types of cancer, such as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), Interventional Imaging is of great benefit as it enables the precise imaging and mapping of hepatic lesions and even the administering of anti-cancer drugs within these tumor lesions through transarterial chemoembolization, usually as an outpatient procedure.
In cardiology, the assessment of cardiovascular diseases through imaging by injecting contrast media is vital for investigating the consequences of serious diseases for patients who are symptomatic and/or present associated risk factors (such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, stress, high blood pressure and smoking). Effective diagnosis allows patients to be categorized according to their risk profile and the presence or absence of clinical signs to determine the most appropriate treatment options: preventive monitoring, choice of one drug alone or several drugs in combination, or a strategy of major or interventional surgery. In this specialty, for example, Interventional Imaging provides a view of the narrowed part of blood vessels that needs medical attention, guides endovascular procedures and provides an immediate check on the effectiveness of the resulting dilation. This type of treatment, which is less invasive for the patient and less costly for the community in terms of hospitalization time and patient monitoring, has replaced surgery in many cases.
In neurology, MRI has proven its worth through central nervous system (CNS) imaging, by making it possible, for the first time, to diagnose lesions that cannot be seen using an X-ray scanner. Injections of contrast media during CNS imaging allow the investigation of tumor diseases (primary brain tumors or brain metastases linked to a primary cancer), inflammatory diseases (such as multiple sclerosis), degenerative conditions (such as Alzheimer’s disease), vascular disorders (such as strokes), and infectious diseases (such as brain abscesses). For most of these chronic disorders, the drugs available to stop their development are still inadequate. They are therefore a major public health issue due to population aging, longer life expectancy and the high cost of caring for these dependent patients.
Interventional Imaging can also be used to successfully treat a large number of cerebral arteriovenous malformations without surgery.