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MIRA Event Summary

‘TOP TECHNOLOGY FOR PATIENTS’

At the MIRA event on 4 June 200 representatives of all three parts of the golden triangle of science, industry and medicine have joined forces, and shared knowledge and ideas on innovation in health care. In her opening speech MIRA's brand new Managing Director Marloes Letteboer encouraged all present scientists, clinical professionals, entrepreneurs, governmental partners and students to get to know each other and be inspired. 

In his keynote lecture prof. Ton van der Steen (Biomedical Engineering at Erasmus MC, Rotterdam) argued that the health care system needs radical change, in order to cope with the challenges ahead of us. Biomedical technology can play a crucial role in this transition. As a fine example of such an innovation he highlighted the current treatment with stents as an alternative for bypass operations. Dottering with a stent costs half of a bypass operation, takes only 1-2 hospital days on average and allows the patient to go back to work after approximately 2,5 week. And as is crucial for any innovation in health care: the heart catheter and stent market offers a big business opportunity. Van der Steen concluded with a call to the crowd: "You are in a good position to make a difference in health care, so please do so!"

 

This keynote lecture was followed by pitches in which the MIRA voucher awardees have presented how MIRA's research benefits patients.

 

In his keynote lecture MIRA's prof. Michel Versluis (Physical and Medical Acoustics) first raised the rising cost aspect of health care, with a large part of the ageing population being exposed to screening and with a huge fraction of the cost spent on therapy. Screening in itself may raise concerns considering potential large numbers of false positives and harmful long-term side effects of X-ray or CT. Thus, a new approach is desirable, with improved risk assessment, leading to less people in a more effective and safer screening, followed up by personalized minimally invasive therapies that are monitored in real-time for improved efficiency and safety. This in the end may lead to a serious cost reduction with dramatic decrease of longitudinal monitoring and follow-up procedures. Multimodal imaging techniques seem promising, as it combines optimally the strength of individual imaging modalities, with improved sensitivity and specificity. Versluis also underscored the role of novel and improved therapies using nanotechnology approaches, lab on a chip technology, and non-invasive ultrasound and optical techniques in which droplets and bubbles in particular were highlighted. Finally, once again the important engagement of all participants within the golden triangle of academia, spin-offs and medical device industry and the medical centers was put forward to bring all new insight and developments to the patient and into the clinic.

 

After lunch MIRA's clinical professors did a 5-minute pitch on how in their specific area of expertise clinical needs are translated into technology based solutions in health care.

 

Bob Pinedo discussed drug resistance, angiogenesis, epigenetics, personalized medicine and immunotherapy in his keynote lecture 'Understanding'. He wants to cross the bridge between fundamental research and clinical oncology. Clinicians follow the guidelines, but see that every patient responds differently to the treatment. If we want to try to understand what is going on we should not be blocked by these guidelines and learn from each patient. He reminded us that we should treat each patient as a pearl, and never as a number.

 

After pitches on the projects of the Pioneers in Health Care Innovation fund, the two day event ended with closing remarks and drinks. We thank all participants for sharing inspiring thoughts on top technology for patients and are looking forward to collaborate on innovative solutions.

We thank all participants for sharing inspiring thoughts on top technology for patients and are looking forward to collaborate on innovative solutions.