Company News

GE's FastFlow Membrane & Filtertek's MediPure®

A harsh reality of our era is that international cancer rates have doubled(1) and most likely cancer will somehow affect you within your lifetime. Living with cancer or caring for someone who has cancer is becoming a frighteningly common experience.

In the midst of the many details and hard decisions a diagnosis brings, patients and their families need to be able to trust the experts and technology behind their treatment. GE Infrastructure Water & Process Technologies is working develop advanced technologies that ensure the highest quality treatment.

Two years ago, Filtertek, the premier maker of intravenous (I.V.) filters used in chemo and nutritional drug therapies, wanted to design a filter that decreased the time it took to administer the drug treatment programs used in fighting cancer and satisfying the nutritional needs for patients whose medical condition makes the normal eating process impossible. "Filtertek had three expectations for GE and the improved membrane design: reduce overall filter time, maintain the quality and safety expected by Filtertek's customers, and increase patient comfort during therapy," explained John Leahey, Filtertek's Senior Medical Program Manager.

While the I.V. filter links the drug therapies to the patient, the membrane within the filter is the heart of the process, patrolling the treatment's effectiveness. Chemo and nutritional medicines arrive at hospitals frozen and when needed, go through a thawing process that may produce air bubbles and treatment clumping, both which can harm patients. "Patient safety and drug therapy effectiveness depend on a membrane filter that purifies the infused drug and does so in a critically short time," explains Steve Johnson, Ph.D, GE Infrastructure Water and Process Technologies' filtration research director.

With a growing market of more than 20 million membrane filters per year, Filtertek's value needs were two fold: the advanced engineered intelligence to house inside a one by two inch circular plastic membrane and the quality rigor needed to manufacturer consistent results. "GE's reputation for research and development for membrane technology, and the resulting membrane quality provided Filtertek a value solution for IV therapies, " Leahy added.

In 18 short months, Johnson's team created the FastFlow membrane to meet Filtertek's advanced needs. "Results from customers and potential customers using the newly designed membranes are promising. Filtertek expects to publish several recent independent laboratory studies that validate the improved membrane," said Leahy.

With the FastFlow membrane and Filtertek's MediPure (tm) filter in the market, patients and their accompanying loved ones can expect greater comfort and a faster IV flow time (as much as 40% faster than the current leading membrane). With this advancement, patients can spend less time receiving chemotherapy and more time living and enjoying life.

GE is making the most of its' time to advance and apply its medical membrane technology to drive quality medical care in a variety of health capacities dependent on membranes like pregnancy, drug abuse and glucose-level tests. GE's technology is increasing its world-renown reputation for management, but this time it's personal.

Article posted with permission from GE.
Copyright 2005, all rights reserved.