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Latest UpdatesEstablishment of joint research center between Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology and Institute of Advanced BioMedical Engineering and Science, Tokyo Women's Medical University

Dec 19, 2018

Fraunhofer Institute for Production TechnologyExternal site: a new window will open. (Fraunhofer IPT), based in Aachen, Germany, has been engaged in developing system solution for production primarily focused on process technology, production machinery, production quality, measurement and technical management. It is under the umbrella of the Fraunhofer Association, the largest organization for applied research in Europe, which has 72 institutes and independent research units throughout Germany with 25,000 staff members. Fraunhofer IPT has a leading position in this research organization regarding technologies in optical measurement fields such as optical coherence tomography (OCT). The Fraunhofer Center for International Management and Knowledge Economy (Fraunhofer IMW) contributes the required socio-economic competencies for translational and commercialization issues.

In recent years, there has been increasing demand in the medical imaging field for minimally invasive techniques for capturing intraoperative images in medical diagnosis and treatment. OCT meets this demand as it is capable of displaying the transverse cross section of a translucent substance non-invasively and nondestructively. This technology has various medical applications — such as cancer detection, treatment in the field of otorhinolaryngology, neurosurgery and heart disease — while improving treatment workflow, equating to a reduced burden on patients.

Logo Fraunhofer Association

Logo of OCTmapp project

Aiming to apply the OCT technology that it has cultivated over many years to new medical care, Fraunhofer IPT has exchanged views with Japanese universities, medical device manufacturers, clinicians, local governments and many other stakeholders in Japan, which is the world’s second largest of medical equipment market, in order to build a research alliance between Japan and Germany. This has borne fruit with the launch of the joint project "OCTmapp (OCT for new medical applications)" in August 2017, which is aimed to establish a permanent research base and network that supports Japan's bio photonics, in collaboration with the Technology and Institute of Advanced BioMedical Engineering and Science, Tokyo Women's Medical University (ABMES), a developer of state-of-the-art medical equipment. Through this project, Fraunhofer IPT will encourage more stakeholders to participate, linking cutting-edge technologies of both Japan and Germany with the advanced medical care of Japan and develop new OCT medical applications and technologies taking into consideration the on-site needs of clinics.

As part of the project, on November 8, 2018, Fraunhofer IPT and ABMES co-hosted a conference titled "Medical Imaging-New Perspectives and the Role of OCT" at Tokyo Women's Medical University. Leading internationally active medical practitioners from Japanese companies and universities delivered lectures and discussed the latest developments regarding OCT. In addition, the two parties signed a partnership agreement to further strengthen their research collaboration strategy and announced that they will establish a research facility in Tokyo to promote projects.

The JETRO Invest Japan Business Support Center (IBSC) provided consultation (on registration, visa, tax and labor matters) and information (on market trends and incentive programs). The IBSC also referred Japanese companies, universities and industry associations.