News | Press Releases

June 20, 2007


TUSTIN, CA — June 20, 2007 — Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. today announced it will sponsor a continuing medical education course in Virtual Colonoscopy in collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Department of Continuing Education. Since 2004, courses in Virtual Colonoscopy have been offered at Harvard Medical School. Harvard is now expanding the program by offering this course at the Toshiba Education Center in Irvine, Calif. with open enrollment to physicians worldwide.

Virtual Colonoscopy is preferred by some patients as a colonoscopy method due to its minimally invasive nature, according to Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. It is a non-invasive colonoscopy screening method in which multiple diagnostic x-ray images of the colorectal region are taken by a Computed Tomography (CT) scanner. The multiple CT images are used to create a picture of the overall colorectal structure, which is studied for signs of disease by physicians.

“CT Virtual Colonoscopy is an effective, non-invasive alternative to conventional optical colonoscopy for high risk patients,” explained Joseph Cooper, senior manager, CT Business Unit at Toshiba. “Working with Harvard on this training program, we hope to encourage physicians to explore Virtual Colonoscopy as a method to improve patient care.”

According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 52,000 people have died this year alone from colorectal cancer – cancers found in the colon or rectum. In addition, nearly 154,000 new cases of colorectal cancer have already been diagnosed in 2007.

“Despite the number of lives claimed by colorectal cancer each year, these cancers can be treated if diagnosed early,” explained Dr. Barish, Assistant Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School and Director of the Virtual Colonoscopy course. “However, patient compliance is a serious issue, because many patients forego having an optical colonoscopy until it is too late. We hope our course will empower physicians to utilize Virtual Colonoscopy, a less invasive, but still effective screening method that is preferred by patients. This screening technique may help save lives through early detection and increased compliance.”

Like the traditional optical colonoscopy, a Virtual Colonoscopy still requires similar preparation by the patient but is completed in approximately 10 minutes. Additionally, this screening process can capture images of the entire colorectal structure, not only the colon as in traditional optical colonoscopy. Other advantages of Virtual Colonoscopy include:

  • The ability to view structures outside of the colon wall, such as the kidneys, liver and aorta, affording clinicians the potential to identify abnormalities and other cancers that can be missed during optical colonoscopy.
  • No patient sedation, allowing patients to resume their daily lives after the procedure.

Toshiba plans to host the course quarterly with the first Virtual Colonoscopy course August 20–21, 2007. Enrollment information can be found at The two-day intensive course will take students through the entire Virtual Colonoscopy process using Toshiba CT images and workstations. Upon completion, attendees will receive 15 hours of category 1 CME credit.

About Toshiba
With headquarters in Tustin, California, Toshiba America Medical Systems markets, sells, distributes and services diagnostic imaging systems, and coordinates clinical diagnostic imaging research for all modalities in the United States. Toshiba Medical Systems Corp., an independent group company of Toshiba Corp., is a global leading provider of diagnostic medical imaging systems and comprehensive medical solutions, such as CT, Cath & EP Labs, X-ray, Ultrasound, Nuclear Medicine, MRI and information systems. Toshiba Corp. is a leader in information and communications systems, electronic components, consumer products, and power systems. Toshiba has approximately 172,000 employees worldwide and annual sales of $62 billion. For more information, visit