Resolution of Medical Issues through Products and Services
Improvement in Accessibility to Medical Services by Means such as Familiarizing Products
People in some parts of the world have difficulty in receiving appropriate healthcare due to poverty or because healthcare environments and systems and frameworks for providing healthcare are underdeveloped.
Sysmex is taking on the challenge of making advances in the healthcare domain in the aim of helping as many people as possible to live long, healthy lives. We believe that improving access to healthcare is an important theme in resolving healthcare issues. For this reason, in emerging markets and developing countries, we are helping to raise laboratory and other healthcare quality, supporting the education of healthcare professionals and working to develop more inexpensive products. Through these efforts, we are striving to ensure that as many people as possible have access to appropriate healthcare.
Initiatives Targeting the Three Major Infectious Diseases
Known as the three major infectious diseases, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria claim about 3 million lives each year. Of the many infectious diseases that exist, these three have long existed on a global scale. In recent years, the spread of therapeutic drugs and vaccines has helped to stem the scale of infection, but economic, social and cultural factors also come into play, and the medical services required for treatment have not yet reached many poor and socially disadvantaged people. Impaired health can also affect economic growth, as it lowers labor capabilities, reduces labor productivity and leads to rising healthcare costs.*
By leveraging the detection technologies it has accumulated in the area of clinical testing, Sysmex Corporation is moving forward with the development of products that assist in diagnosing disease. We are also collaborating with government and academia on initiatives to address the three major infectious diseases.
* Source: “Knowing the Three Major Infectious Diseases”, Friends of the Global Fund, Japan
Initiatives to Eradicating Malaria
In testing for malaria, in terms of diagnosis and treatment it is extremely important to distinguish between the types of malaria—whether tropical malaria, which can become severe and lead to death, and other types of malaria. Current testing methods, however, involve microscope testing conducted by trained and experienced professionals. Determining and diagnosing the type of malaria in this way takes time, leading to calls for the development of new technology that can distinguish and diagnose the types of malaria simply and quickly.
Using its existing automated hematology analyzer technology, Sysmex Corporation has developed the XN-30, an automated multiparameter hematology analyzer capable of measuring in around one minute red blood cells affected by the malaria plasmodium. This instrument determines the quantity of red blood cells infected by malaria plasmodia and provides information on the type of malarial infection quickly and simply. This product is currently limited to research use, but as the instrument need not be operated by people who are experienced in working with microscopes, we have hopes that the instrument will find a broad range of uses, from basic research to clinical applications.
Each year since 2014, Nikkei Inc. has sponsored the Nikkei Asian Conference on Communicable Diseases. Since 2016, Sysmex has become a special sponsor, taking part in a malaria working group to formulate and implement specific action plans for eradicating malaria. The conference, consisting of government institutions, other organizations, academia and companies around the world, is working on eradicating malaria altogether.
Participating in the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund)
GHIT Fund Framework
Sysmex Corporation is working on development of testing technologies targeting malaria, dengue fever, HIV and other diseases, as well as developing products to contribute to the diagnosis of infectious diseases in emerging markets and developing countries. For three years, since 2015, we have also participated in the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund) which states its vision for action as “one in which the crushing burden of infectious disease no longer prevents billions of people in the developing world from seeking the level of prosperity and longevity now common in the industrialized world.” In June 2017, we decided to continue our participation for another five years from 2018, aiming to contribute to healthcare in developing countries through direct Japanese technological innovation.
Helping to Raise Local Healthcare Levels
As one of its initiatives to help the development of healthcare infrastructure and raise healthcare levels in Asia, Sysmex has supported efforts to raise the quality of healthcare testing in six countries: China, Mongolia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and the Philippines. We also support laboratory quality control in Africa, in Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and have contributed mobile laboratories in Kenya.
Supporting the Education of Healthcare Professionals
In addition to preparing healthcare infrastructure in place, having in place appropriately trained healthcare professionals is an essential part of improving access to healthcare. To assist, Sysmex conducts seminars and study sessions for healthcare professionals and disseminates state-of-the art scientific information.
Popularizing Stable and Inexpensive Healthcare by Making Use of iPS Cells
iPS cells*1, which are capable of differentiation into many types of cells in tissues and organs, play a vital role in the realization of regenerative medicine, and are expected to find application on a variety of fronts. One such use is in allogenic transplantation, which uses cells derived from a donor who meets certain criteria. By standardizing the processes, this method is considered to have the potential for enabling production in a planned manner, providing cells of high quality in a stable and inexpensive manner.
Sysmex Corporation, HEALIOS K.K. and Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co., Ltd., have commenced joint R&D on pre-transplant immune reaction testing for a regenerative medicine containing RPE cells*2 derived from allogenic iPS cells, which have been jointly developed in Japan by Healios and Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, targeting age-related macular degeneration*3 and other ocular diseases. Sysmex will use its proprietary technologies to develop a pre-transplant immune reaction testing method. It is anticipated that testing results can be reflected in optimizing immunosuppressive agent administration frequency and dosages for patients following allogeneic cell transplantation.
*1 An abbreviation for induced pluripotent stem cells, iPS cells that are produced from human skin cells or others by transfection of several factors are capable of differentiation into many types of cells organizing
*2 These cells form the tissue on the outermost layer of the retina. Including melanin pigment, they absorb excess light entering the retina, prevent scattering and perform other functions. They also serve as a control gate to regulate the flow of substances between the exterior choroid and the internal retina.
*3 Retinal maculae play an important role in the ability to see, but damage due to advancing age can cause degeneration, resulting in illness in which the eyesight is impaired. In one type of age-related macular degeneration, the macular structure takes on an “atrophic form” along with advancing age. In another, the “exudative form,” new vessels form just below the retina (neovascularity), causing damage to the maculae.