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https://www.dresden.de/en/business/location/key-sectors/smart-health-eng.php 01.12.2021 09:03:44 Uhr 05.12.2022 23:35:22 Uhr
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Smart health in Dresden: The cradle of the medical culture

Novel viruses are demonstrating how important medical innovations are to humanity. And there are countless illnesses for which there are still no therapies available. In their quest for new treatment methods, researchers and entrepreneurs in Dresden are increasingly relying on smart-health solutions.

Else Kröner Fresenius Center for Digital Health
Else Kröner Fresenius Center for Digital Health

Digitalisation and artificial intelligence are finding their way into Dresden’s health facilities thanks to groundbreaking research partners. As a hub for smart health solutions and research, Saxony’s state capital is leading the medical field into the future.

High-tech applications from Dresden are used worldwide, and are constantly being further developed here. In digital health, for example, research is being conducted into robot-assisted surgery methods and the use of digital simulations. Telemedicine is also part of the broad field of smart health research. Digital communication technologies are making treatments and consultations possible even when doctor and patient are separated by distance.

Pioneering work in cancer research at the NCT/UCC

The new NCT building
The new NCT building

Dresden is a key driver of progress in cancer research. This research is particularly important to our society, as many tumour diseases are still difficult to treat and afflict several thousand people every year. A new hotspot for research and therapy has emerged in the form of the National Centre for Tumour Diseases/University Cancer Centre (NCT/UCC) at the TU Dresden’s campus. The centre’s aim is for the latest research findings to be tested in clinical studies here as quickly as possible and then applied to standard cancer-care practices. Together with the NCT Heidelberg, the NCT Dresden is leading cancer research nationwide. The NCT/UCC’s main focuses include high-precision radiation therapies, new surgery techniques and state-of-the-art cancer medication. The proximity between the laboratory and hospital means scientists at the NCT are able to gain important ideas and inspiration for their practical research.

Robot-based surgery

CeTI Robo Lab of TU Dresden
CeTI Robo Lab of TU Dresden

The NCT has teamed with the Centre for Tactile Internet with Human-in-the-Loop (CeTI) at the TU Dresden to work on a new stage of robot-based surgery. This has already been applied in principle at Dresden’s Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital for years. Now, a neural network is set to control robots which, based on surgery videos, learn which surgery stages and events require which surgical instruments. The aim is to take the pressure off the surgery team and warn against potential complications.

Smart-health projects in Dresden

Simple and secure data exchange in the aftercare of cancer patients is the core of the Smarth Health project OncoBroker.
Simple and secure data exchange in the aftercare of cancer patients is the core of the Smarth Health project OncoBroker.

OncoBroker is a smart-health project commenced in January 2020 and run jointly by the St. Joseph-Stift Dresden hospital, Institut für Angewandte Informatik e. V., T-Systems Multimedia Solutions GmbH and the City of Dresden. The aim is to establish a process for easily and securely exchanging data in after-care for cancer patients. To achieve this, an AI-based solution is to be created, enabling anonymised data to reach the right recipients any time, on a daily basis, through a secure platform. As such, information is exchanged reliably between the patient, doctor and hospital, and information-transfer processes are simplified.

This measure is funded by taxes based on the budget approved by the Saxon state parliament.

The only islet-transplantation programme in Germany

The diabetes research work at the Dresden University Hospital is attracting international attention.
The diabetes research work at the Dresden University Hospital is attracting international attention.

The experts in Dresden also focus on the proximity factor for researching and treating diabetes. The Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital is the only centre in Germany offering the full range of clinically available methods and technologies for diabetes therapy. This includes islet cell transplantation in patients following partial or full removal of the pancreas.

The research being conducted at the Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital, particularly at the Paul Langerhans Institute Dresden, is internationally acclaimed. As a partner establishment of the German Centre for Diabetes Research (DZD), funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Free State of Saxony, the institute is a member of committees and research consortia, and is also addressed in numerous publications. With its unique structure of collaboration between university and non-university establishments, Dresden plays a key role in the success of the university hospital’s work.

Else Kröner Fresenius Centre for Digital Health

The CRT (Capillary Refill Time) innovation project is researching how long it takes for the skin color to match the surrounding tissue again after pressure.
The CRT (Capillary Refill Time) innovation project is researching how long it takes for the skin color to match the surrounding tissue again after pressure.

The Else Kröner Fresenius Centre (EKFZ) for Digital Health was founded in 2019 with the aim of pooling medical professionals’ and high-tech specialist’ expertise in a bid to create the perfect framework conditions for the medical research of the future. The Else Kröner-Fresenius Foundation has provided 40 million euros’ worth of funding to set up innovative training and organisational structures, establish an interdisciplinary co-operation and develop additional research resources. The EKFZ is a joint initiative by the Hochschulmedizin Dresden University Hospital and the TU Dresden’s electrical engineering, information engineering and IT faculties, and non-university partners.

Among the things specifically being developed at the EKFZ are novel treatment and surgery methods, as well as innovative technical concepts for diagnostics. In intensive care, for example, smart sensors help with treatment and make nurses’ and doctors’ work easier. This technical support makes examinations more accurate and less risky. Driven by actual medical requirements, and with direct access to the medical infrastructure, the EKFZ’s research projects are accelerating digitalisation in medicine – to benefit patients.

Telemedicine: treating patients even from a distance

Follow-up care for the patient by the doctor using a video call
Follow-up care for the patient by the doctor using a video call

Telemedicine is one area of application for modern technology in the health sector. It primarily revolves around medical services in the fields of diagnostics, therapy and rehab, which, in future, will be possible across geographic distances and with time delays – with the help of information and communication technologies. This is hugely helpful, particularly for regional medical care, and will bring tremendous benefits for the severely ill or patients requiring a high degree of care.

The Schlaganfallnetzwerk Ostsachsen (East Saxony Stroke Network) is one of the pioneering telemedicine projects in Saxony. For the last few years, this project has constantly improved after-care for the patients concerned, with doctors in regional areas in particular being supported by stroke specialists from Dresden and other major hospitals. And one important plus for the patients themselves is the fact that diagnoses are based on data that can be exchanged digitally on a central platform, Telehealth Ostsachsen (THOS). Along with the Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital, with its neurology clinic, the TU Dresden is an important project partner, with its chair for business computing, and system development in particular.

From diagnostics to new treatment options

BIOTEC
BIOTEC

In addition to digitalisation, modern medicine is particularly focusing on findings from the field of biotechnology, which, in Dresden, has a lot to offer, including faster, more accurate diagnostic methods and highly accurate treatment options. BIOTEC, the biotechnology centre at the TU Dresden, has been utilising groundbreaking findings to combat diseases for 20 years. The core disciplines currently include dementia research, obtaining findings on the relevance of physical cell properties in the emergence of visual impairments, and the structured recording of medical data to draw conclusions about its effect on other diseases, such as pancreatic cancer. At the Max Bergmann Centre of Biomaterials, biomaterials are developed for various medical disciplines, including dentistry, orthopaedics and regenerative medicine. Meanwhile, live matter is the focus of research at the B CUBE (Centre for Molecular Bioengineering) run by the TU Dresden. Innovative materials and technologies are developed here based on these findings.

And it’s not just in research, but also by serving as the headquarters of international biotech companies, that Dresden has become a global player for innovative medical processes. Its portfolio includes companies such as GSK, ROTOP Pharmaka, Apogepha, Menarini, DewPoint, Lipotype, Gemoab and Riboxx. Biotype, for example, produces and sells molecular diagnostic kits to prove and quantify RNA and DNA markers, making it currently very topical in COVID-19 diagnosis.

Perfect conditions at the innovations hub that is Dresden

Prof. Gerhard Fettweis from 5G Lab Germany is doing intensive research on the cellular standard of the future.
Prof. Gerhard Fettweis from 5G Lab Germany is doing intensive research on the cellular standard of the future.

By investing in the modern 5G and 6G mobile network, the TU Dresden is helping provide the communication-technology infrastructure for modern processes in medicine and research. Dresden is thus also a hotbed for other progressive issues, such as Industry 4.0 and sustainability research, which are making the city a veritable innovations hub.

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