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Thursday, January 31, 2019, 23:54
CUHK partners with overseas institutions in medical robotic research
By Li Bingcun
Thursday, January 31, 2019, 23:54 By Li Bingcun

Da Vinci Research Kit, a medical robotic system developed by a research team led by the Johns Hopkins University of the United States, at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. (LI BINGCUN / CHINA DAILY)

The Chinese University of Hong Kong has strengthened its collaboration with three top overseas universities to research medical robotics – exciting new technology which could provide more flexible and precise surgical treatment.

Partnering with the ETH Zurich, Imperial College London and Johns Hopkins University, the CUHK announced on Thursday it is planning to set up a 15,000-square-foot (1,394-square-meter) research center of medical robotics at the Hong Kong Science Park.

The planned Multi-Scale Medical Robotics Center, with a cross-disciplinary research team comprising medical and engineering experts, will focus on the research of world-leading technologies.

They include a flexible endoscopic system which could reduce discomfort after surgery; a magnetic-guided endoscope which could cut the time of a small bowel endoscopy to half; and an image-guided robotic system which could offer more accurate treatments.

Officiating at the signing ceremony, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the universities were attracted by Hong Kong’s advantages in scientific research. This includes well-established legislation, proximity to manufacturing powerhouses, such as Shenzhen, and supportive government policies, the CE explained.

Lam said she is confident that the research center, with collaboration from four prestigious medical institutions, will advance the diagnosis and treatment of multiple medical specialties.

On the same occasion, CUHK’s Vice-Chancellor and President Rocky Tuan Sung-chi said robotic technology was making surgical procedures and medical treatments possible, which were previously unachievable.

Tuan says it will enhance the performance of minimally invasive and endoluminal surgeries. He also believes that advanced technology advancement will help the city cope with the aging problem by offering better care to elderly patients.

A world leading pioneer in robotic surgery, CUHK performed world’s first robotic endoluminal surgery in 2011. It also established Asia’s first robotic surgery training center in 2008, which has cultivated more than 1,300 console robotic surgeons, according to the university.

Hoping to obtain a HK$700 million fund, the university said it has applied admission to the InnoHK, a government-initiated platform which aims at transforming Hong Kong into a scientific and innovation hub for global research collaboration.

The platform, which will be established in the second half of 2019, will focus on research into robotics and healthcare-related technologies. By the end of September 2018, over 30 world-leading institutions have expressed interest in participating in the platform.

Earlier this month, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology also announced it had applied to participate in the platform. It has partnered with other three overseas institutions to set up a research center focusing on the study of Alzheimer’s disease.


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