Innovation hub supports city's medical industry development
Shanghai's active demonstration area assists with every stage of new tech creation, use
As a vital element of Shanghai's innovation development, the city's Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone has actively supported the development of the medical industry, which will also serve the national Healthy China 2020 plan.
The zone is home to more than 70,000 scientific and technological companies, accounting for roughly 80 percent of the total number in Shanghai. It is also home to more than 1,400 research institutes. Many of the companies and institutes are in the medical and healthcare industry.
Each year, the zone witnesses a number of scientific and technological innovation achievements. One of them in the medical technology industry is a magnetically-controlled endoscope system for digestive tract examination.
The medical capsule robot combines various cutting-edge technologies, including sensors, optical imaging, image processing, wireless communications and device packaging, according to the developer, Ankon Technologies.
"The product has a series of breakthroughs in product design and development for gastric screening and early diagnosis," said Ji Pengsong, president of the company.
Resembling a medicine capsule, the robot weighs less than 5 grams. But, this tiny robot comprises more than 300 parts with over 40 international patents, the developer said.
The patient swallows the capsule with water. Then the robot inside the capsule takes photos automatically as it passes through the gastrointestinal tract. After that, the robot capsule is expelled by the patient.
Ji said the entire process is convenient and can be finished within 15 minutes.
Approved by the China Food and Drug Administration in 2013, the capsule endoscope system has been used in nearly 1,000 hospitals and medical centers across the country. Last year, the China Health Promotion Foundation included the robot capsule system in a health management demonstration project.
Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare is another representative for scientific and technological innovation in Zhangjiang. The company specializes in developing and manufacturing advanced medical products and providing innovative healthcare solutions, covering the entire healthcare cycle, from diagnostic imaging and radiation therapy to medical IT solutions.
For quite a long time, high-end medical equipment in China's medical institutes mainly originated from multinational companies and usually involved high costs.
The high-end medical imaging industry itself has a higher threshold and is a multi-disciplinary industry, covering research and development and manufacturing. The industry has very high requirements in terms of machinery, mathematics, physics and fine processing, said Zhang Qiang, co-president of the company. For many years, the company experienced difficulties in attracting international professionals in medical imaging, he said.
Zhang said the R&D and manufacturing of imaging equipment in China have long been middle- or low-end. The company wants to form its own advantages through innovation to close the gap with foreign medical equipment companies and meet global competition head-on.
Over the years, the company has cultivated a series of key technologies in the high-end medical imaging equipment field, and independently developed and manufactured a batch of star products.
The company's CT, MI, MR, and Digital X-ray Radiography products boast high-definition image quality and low-dose technology. They can assist medical professionals make diagnoses and help patients to receive treatment, according to the company.
Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare also develops and manufactures advanced radiotherapy equipment supported by real-time, high-definition imaging. It offers solutions to provide accurate treatment of lesions at an early stage, minimize damage to normal tissues and improve diagnosis and treatment results.
With the continuous innovation seen in domestic technology, the industry can expect a new round of product price reduction and more benefits for patients, industry experts said.
A patient swallows a capsule robot in a medical examination. Photos Provided To China Daily
The capsule robot is used in gastrointestinal tract imaging.