Ultrasound & Breast Cancer Detection [SystemX Seminar]

Ultrasound & Breast Cancer Detection
Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 4:30pm
Huang 018
Ron Ho (Medical Device Companies)
Abstract / Description: 

Each year it is estimated that over 250,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and is the second leading cause of cancer death among women. According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of women each year and affecting countries at all levels of modernization. Population based screening has been successful in the early detection of some cancers, including cervical, colon, and breast. However, the success in mortality reduction by screening mammography has been limited in women with mammographically dense tissue. Ultrasound has the potential to be an ideal screening tool because it is relatively inexpensive and requires no injected contrast or ionizing radiation. However, the relatively poor conspicuity of some cancers by hand scanning and the considerable radiologist time necessary limit its use. Automated breast ultrasound (ABUS) allows the radiologist to read the images quickly, and separates image acquisition from interpretation, allowing for efficient screening workflow. Several studies using automated breast ultrasound show that adding ABUS to mammography significantly increases the cancer detection rate compared to mammography alone, and triples the 1 cm-or-less invasive cancers found in dense-breasted women.


Mr. Ho was CEO of U-Systems, a medical device start-up developing an automated ultrasound breast cancer screening system, resulting in a successful exit with GE Healthcare in November 2012. Under his leadership, U-Systems completed the largest clinical trial of its kind for breast cancer screening, resulting in a pivotal study and subsequent FDA PMA approval for its breast cancer screening system. The U-Systems ABUS system is the only product FDA-approved for breast cancer screening for women with dense breasts (approximately 50% of western women and 70% of Asian women).

Prior to Joining U-Systems, Mr. Ho led Metron Systems, an advanced laser scanning company providing precise 3D digitization of complex parts for the medical and aerospace industries. He served as President and CEO and led the technology start-up company to develop and commercialize a family of advanced optical measurement systems.

Prior to Metron, Mr. Ho spent 16 years with Siemens Medical Solutions Ultrasound Group in various positions including executive senior management of R&D and operations. He was responsible for product development and production for all of Siemens ultrasonic transducers including the highly successful AcuNav line of intracardiac echocardiography imaging catheters. He led the technical team that developed Siemens' Multi-Dimensional family of transducers, and holds several ultrasound-related patents.

Prior to Siemens, Mr. Ho spent 4 years in product development with Quantum Medical Systems, a venture capital-backed company that pioneered color flow ultrasound.

Mr. Ho serves on the board of medical device companies and holds BSME and MSME degrees from the University of Washington. He has been a project coach in Stanford's Biodesign program for the past 4 years.