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Major joint venture in medical technology

2017-06-21

Technical expertise is becoming increasingly important in healthcare. Uppsala University Hospital and Uppsala University will now be the first in the country to lead a joint interfaculty venture in leading medical technology. The goal is to streamline the road from research to innovation and patient benefit.

The investment in a joint centre – MedTech Science and Innovation – is the result of a careful review of existing expertise and an aim to gather forces in several specific fields of medical technology. The centre will be physically located at Uppsala University Hospital.

Examples of research for earlier diagnosis and better treatment using medical technology include radiation oncology therapy with ions, advanced image analysis as an aid in surgery, early breast cancer diagnosis using infrared spectroscopy, new bio materials that enable patient-specific fracture treatments, gene therapy to stop Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and treatment of blindness with new bio materials.

“The highly specialised healthcare sector has become increasingly technical,” says Sune Larsson, Director of Research at Uppsala University Hospital. “Modern care therefore needs not only doctors and other healthcare professionals, but also advanced technical expertise. This involves technology both for use in hospitals and to offer new solutions that, for example, enable remote care.”

For Uppsala University, this need has led to a new way of looking at cooperation with healthcare.

“This is unique in several ways,” says Marika Edoff, Deputy Vice Rector of the Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology and Board Chair of the new centre. “We will be the first in Sweden to create university lecturer posts that will be shared between Region Uppsala/Uppsala University Hospital and the Faculty of Science and Technology, in the same way that many physician jobs are shared today.”

“We are also working to design a new university engineering programme focusing on medical technology, with a large part of the education conducted as placements at the hospital. The many spin-out companies in the MedTech field we are seeing in the region promise great potential for innovations.”

Medtech Science and Innovation is currently recruiting one professor and three senior lecturers in four areas:

  1. Radiation therapy in oncology. The Skandion Clinic already works in this area with proton therapy, but there is a lot to gain by combining existing technology with new innovations in image analysis and simulation.
  2. Medical sensor technology for advanced diagnostics without needing to cut or stick needles in patients.
  3. Computer-aided surgery, where procedures are first tested in computers. Already used in certain types of surgeries, but has great potential for development.
  4. Implementation of sensor technology in healthcare. This is an important area in which Uppsala will be the sole actor. The goal is to determine what delays the practical introduction of technology in healthcare.

The venture is being co-financed by the Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology and the Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy at Uppsala University and by Region Uppsala.