Canadian Innovation Helps Researchers "See into the Future" of Disease

VisualSonics Launches Revolutionary Technology to Advance Cancer Research

TORONTO, June 23, 2011 /CNW/ - Cancer diagnosis and treatment could be transformed through a breakthrough photoacoustic imaging system developed by Canada's VisualSonics. Cancer is a leading cause of early death in Canada, accounting for over 29% of all deaths in Canada1. An innovative new imaging technology known as Vevo® LAZR Photoacoutic Imaging System by Canada's VisualSonics offers the promise of dramatically increasing the pace of lifesaving Cancer discoveries where progress has long been steady but mostly incremental.

"The Vevo LAZR system allows our researchers to see into the processes that sustain a disease such as cancer," said David A. Jaffray, Ph.D, Head, Radiation Physics - Ontario Cancer Institute/ Princess Margaret Hospital, one of the first scientific users of the Vevo LAZR system. "This imaging system has the potential to transform the way we diagnose and treat cancer."  Jaffray's research focuses on better understanding some of the factors that affect the way cancer responds to treatment. Since the response to treatment varies from patient to patient, the Vevo LAZR technology will help ensure patients get the right treatment, or what Jaffray describes as "personalized medicine."

Cancer is now known to be a disease caused by changes in a cell's genetic makeup and its programmed behaviour. The Vevo LAZR platform enables researchers to study these changes in their earliest stages of progression by detecting and evaluating cancerous tumor growth in real-time.  For the first time, researchers are able to observe tumor biology, measure hypoxia (oxygen levels), evaluate changes in blood flow, and quantify data with unique software solutions in vivo and in real-time. This technology provides researchers with never-before-seen insights into the development of effective therapies for treating cancer.

North American Launch

VisualSonics, a world leader in real-time, high-resolution micro-imaging systems launched the Vevo LAZR photoacoustic imaging technology in North America in April, at the annual conference of the American Association of Cancer Research in Orlando, Florida. Images and data generated by the Vevo LAZR system were first presented at the World Molecular Imaging Conference (WMIC) in Kyoto, Japan in September 2010 to a worldwide audience of prestigious organizations and research institutes.

European Launch

European researchers experienced Vevo LAZR technology for the first time when it was unveiled this month at the 6th annual European Molecular Imaging Meeting in Leiden, The Netherlands.

Advancing Cancer Research

The Vevo LAZR system is designed for use in preclinical research and could herald major breakthroughs in cancer research in the future when human applications of the technology are envisioned.  The most unique feature of this pioneering imaging technology is its ability to see tiny structures at a molecular level such as nuclei inside a living cell. The Vevo LAZR system uses a laser to shoot pulses of light through the skin into tissue and cells beneath the surface. The absorbed laser energy is converted into heat, producing an ultrasonic emission that is captured and turned into images using a specially adapted high-frequency ultrasound probe.

Since the launch, there has been a great deal of interest and excitement in the Vevo LAZR technology from researchers around the world. The Vevo LAZR system is currently being used at research facilities in Canada, the U.S. as well as Japan.

"The Vevo LAZR technology offers a crucial opportunity for acceleration in the study of cancer and its treatment enabling early detection, early diagnosis and rapid personalized treatment,"   said Anil Amlani, VisualSonics' President and CEO. "This technology is allowing researchers to conduct microscopic level research in a living organism, non-invasively and in real-time. No other technology can do this." This leading edge technology will benefit several areas of research including diabetes, neurosciences, cardiovascular, as well as developmental and reproductive biology.

"We're thrilled that SonoSite and VisualSonics have teamed up to deliver new breakthrough imaging technologies," said Kevin M. Goodwin, SonoSite President and CEO. "VisualSonics is truly at the forefront of imaging advancements for life-sciences research."

About VisualSonics

VisualSonics is the world leader in real-time, in vivo, high-resolution micro-imaging systems designed specifically for preclinical research and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SonoSite, Inc. (Nasdaq: Sono). The Company's cutting edge technologies allow researchers at the world's most prestigious pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, hospitals and universities to conduct research in cardiovascular, cancer, neurobiology and developmental biology areas. The micro imaging technologies support research applications that include genetic research, phenotypic studies and drug development. VisualSonics micro-imaging platforms combine high-resolution, real-time in vivo imaging at reasonable cost with ease-of-use and quantifiable results.

About SonoSite

SonoSite, Inc. is the innovator and world leader in bedside and point-of-care ultrasound and an industry leader in ultra high-frequency micro-ultrasound technology and impedance cardiography equipment. Headquartered near Seattle, the company is represented by fourteen subsidiaries and a global distribution network in over 100 countries. SonoSite's small, lightweight systems are expanding the use of ultrasound across the clinical spectrum by cost-effectively bringing high-performance ultrasound to the point of patient care.

Forward-looking Information and the Private Litigation Reform Act of 1995

Certain statements in this press release relating to the expected benefits of the Vevo LAZR Photoacoustics Imaging technology, including market acceptance of products incorporating Vevo LAZR Photoacoustics Imaging technology and new market and sales opportunities for SonoSite, and other statements regarding future results are "forward-looking statements" for the purposes of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of our management at the time the statements are made and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expected or implied by the forward-looking statements. These statements are not guaranties of future performance and are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties and are based on potentially inaccurate assumptions. Factors that could cause actual results to differ from the forward-looking statements include: the risk that the technology will not yield the expected potential benefits, including the risk that we are unsuccessful in achieving market acceptance of this technology, and the potential for competitive technologies, as well as other factors contained in the Item 1A. "Risk Factors" section of SonoSite, Inc.'s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We caution readers not to place undue reliance upon these forward-looking statements that speak only as to the date of this release. We undertake no obligation to publicly revise any forward-looking statements to reflect new information, events or circumstances after the date of this release or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated even.

1 Canadian Cancer Society: General cancer statistics at a glance; http://www.cancer.ca/Canada-wide/About%20cancer/Cancer%20statistics/Stats%20at%20a%20glance/General%20cancer%20stats.aspx?sc_lang=en


SOURCE VisualSonics

For further information:

Danna O'Brien, Playbook Communications,
danna@playbookcommunications.com 416-500-0699

Shailja Tewari, VisualSonics
stewari@visualsonics.com 416-484-5000 x5220

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