MedTech West initiates, facilitates, and promotes increased research collaboration between the healthcare sector, industry, and academia, with focus on actual clinical needs.
MedTech West is a joint venture that was founded in 2009 by Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Chalmers University of Technology, University of Gothenburg, University of Borås and Västra Götaland Region. It’s a network and collaborative platform that fosters active participation in the development and introduction of new technology platforms into the clinical environment.
“There’s a huge potential in improving healthcare with new technology. Our objective is to increase the volume and quality of collaborative research projects in the area of biomedical engineering, which will lead to better healthcare,” tells Henrik Mindedal, Director of MedTech West.
MedTech West undertakes frontline research at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital, providing some 40 workplaces for short-term and long-term research activities.
“Our research projects focus on solving problems and needs faced by clinicians. It’s crucial to work closely with medical experts and care personnel to do things right. Hence, the healthcare environment is a vital part of MedTech West. That’s why it’s important for us to be situated close to the flow of patients. The companies are of course needed for the commercialisation and widespread impact of products and services.”
To promote understanding and exchange of knowledge and ideas between the healthcare sector, industry, and academia, MedTech West provides networking opportunities where clinicians, academics, and business professionals can meet.
”During these events, projects are often born and groups are formed,” Henrik Mindedal comments.
”Some research areas have started with strategic investments and recruitment of leading scientists, e.g., in the case of medical imaging and image analysis. A critical mass of scientific competence is built up, which is attractive to companies active in the same area,” he adds.
Six Focus Areas
MedTech West focuses on the research areas of image analysis, microwave technologies, sensor technologies, electromagnetic modelling, smart textiles and eHealth. Currently 35 projects are running and approx. 50 additional projects have been identified. The goal is to take as many new medtech solutions as possible into clinical practice.
One of the projects is ‘Focal MEG’ based on high-temperature SQUIDs (superconducting quantum interference devices) – a new generation of MEG (magnetoencephalography) sensors that improve signal-to-noise ratios and enable more detailed realtime studies of brain activities when compared to state-of-the-art MEG systems. Because they can be positioned closer to the head, the new SQUIDs improve spatial resolution and sensitivity during recordings of brain function. These focal and high-sensitivity capabilities open the door to a host of novel neuroscience applications while potentially revolutionising the way doctors and clinicians diagnose and treat diseases of the brain.
”It’s a fine example of a project that is very important for clinical operations and could turn out to become a disruptive technology, transforming the entire way in which we find and diagnose patients, for example with Alzheimer’s or psychiatric diseases,” says Henrik Mindedal.
In the field of microwave technologies, MedTech West and Chalmers are currently building up a world unique competence for medical applications. One example is the ‘Strokefinder’ project, where a microwave based diagnostic system for stroke is being developed, allowing earlier and more successful treatment than today.
“I anticipate that in 10-15 years, microwave solutions will be an important and independent segment of the global medtech industry. Hence, the competence and technologies developed in West Sweden will be highly attractive for companies and yet another reason to settle here,” Henrik Mindedal concludes.