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Olympus Introduces World’s First Combined Endoscopic Ultrasound Processor for Imaging and Treatment of Digestive and Pulmonary Diseases

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., February 16, 2009 - Olympus America Inc. today announced the launch of EU-ME1, the world’s first universal endoscopic ultrasound processor to combine electronic and mechanical scanning for both gastrointestinal and pulmonary diseases in a single device. This technology could allow doctors to more conveniently image and stage pancreatic, lung, esophageal and stomach cancer, as well as other diseases.

“Consolidating both processors is a practical and efficient solution for identifying and assessing the extent of disease in both the digestive and respiratory systems,” said Dr. Robert Hawes, professor of medicine, Digestive Disease Center, Medical University of South Carolina. “Many of Olympus’ ultrasound endoscopes and probes that previously required different processors can now be used with one system -- possibly reducing cost and procedure time while providing the best quality imaging with color Doppler and electronic scanning.”

Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) combine endoscopy and ultrasound in order to obtain the most accurate, high-resolution images and information about the digestive and bronchial tracts and the surrounding tissue and organs. By guiding an endoscope with an ultrasound transducer at its tip, sound beyond the range of human hearing is emitted within body cavities and creates images of the targeted areas. The applications for EUS and EBUS have continued to expand and are now used to assess several types of cancer.

EUS applications now allow doctors to inject pain medication from inside the body of patients with pancreatic cancer or chronic pancreatitis without damaging surrounding tissues. Research clinicians are currently exploring this technique as a way to directly deliver cancer-fighting agents to malignant tumors.

EBUS, one of the most effective methods for imaging and staging lung cancer, offers a non-surgical alternative to traditional procedures that examine the chest. Olympus was the first to introduce EBUS bronchoscopes with aspiration needles specifically designed for diagnosing biopsies and staging lung cancer in real-time with ultrasound. This technology is now compatible with Olympus’ EU-ME1.

“The EU-ME1 provides a means of sampling lymph nodes and masses more systematically than conventional blind methods and allows the physician to more accurately diagnose and determine treatment for various pulmonary diseases,” said Dr. William Krimsky, director, The Center for Interventional Pulmonology at Franklin Square Hospital Center in Baltimore.

For additional information or to arrange an interview with Dr. Robert Hawes or Dr. William Krimsky, please contact Lisa Koen at 212-373-6099.

Olympus’ EU-ME1 will be available for distribution in the United States in early March 2009.

About Olympus Medical Systems Group
Olympus Medical Systems Group provides endoscopy knowledge and solutions that enable hospital endoscopy suites, ambulatory surgical centers and private practices to achieve exceptional clinical and financial outcomes across the continuum of care. Olympus offers diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopes and EndoTherapy accessories; service and repair solutions; Web-based endoscopy information products; GI and bronchoscopy lab integration services; cleaning and disinfection products and services; cost-effective financial solutions; and consulting services.

Olympus is a precision technology leader, creating innovative opto-digital solutions in healthcare, life science and consumer electronics products.

Olympus works collaboratively with its customers and its affiliates worldwide to leverage R&D investment in precision technology and manufacturing processes across diverse business lines. These include:

  • Gastrointestinal endoscopes, accessories, and minimally invasive surgical products;
  • Advanced clinical and research microscopes;
  • Lab automation systems, chemistry-immuno and blood bank analyzers and reagents;
  • Digital cameras and voice recorders.

Olympus serves healthcare and commercial laboratory markets with integrated product solutions and financial, educational and consulting services that help customers to efficiently, reliably and more easily achieve exceptional results. Olympus develops breakthrough technologies with revolutionary product design and functionality for the consumer and professional photography markets, and also is the leader in gastrointestinal endoscopy and clinical and educational microscopes. For more information, visit www.olympusamerica.com.