[Priority Issue 2]Improve Accessibilities to Medical Services
Note: The article on this page is taken from Sustainability Report 2018.
Target and Key points in FY2017 Activities
Target for 2030
The rapid aging of society is proceeding in Japan, and population and economic growth are advancing in emerging countries. As a result, these countries are experiencing expanding medical demands, giving rise to a variety of problems, such as the insufficient number of doctors and nurses, their harsh working conditions, and regional disparities in medical services. The death rate from infectious diseases is still high in developing countries, and eradication of infectious diseases, such as AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, is also one of the SDGs. The Fujifilm Group is contributing to the establishment of a sound medical environment and to supporting medical staff to realize disease prevention, make early diagnoses, and provide early treatment through combining our exclusive technologies acquired over the years with the large volume of data we have accumulated in the medical IT field, and with AI technology.
Outline of Activities in FY2017
[Target] Expand and spread services using AI & IoT technology to reduce burden on medical staff
- Announced our medical AI technology brand, REiLI, in April 2018. Also, started joint research with AI technology vendors and medical organizations, including LPixel Inc., a bioventure company established by researchers from the University of Tokyo.
[Target] Spread rapid tuberculosis diagnostic kits in developing countries
- Completed Phase 1 development of a highly sensitive rapid tuberculosis diagnostic kits TB-LAM. This kits are being developed by Fujifilm and FIND* with the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund), which aims at creating innovative therapeutic drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic drugs originating in Japan.
[Target] Spread health check system and help improve the medical environment in emerging countries
- Fujifilm and the Saudi Arabian General Sports Authority signed a memorandum to establish the country's first women's health check center, aiming to contribute to women's health in a country where health check systems do not exist.
- Held the first FUJIFILM Mammography World Conference. Staff from group companies in Japan, Europe, the US, the Middle East, Asia, and Oceania gathered to share technical information and knowhow.
- Participated in overseas business expansion and ODA projects, supporting medical environment improvement in five Mekong countries (Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Vietnam), Indonesia, Brazil, and Zambia.
* FIND (Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics): Swiss non-profit organization that helps development and spread of new diagnostic techniques for infectious disease suitable for developing countries.
Future Activities and Targets
- Start full-scale R&D of medical AI technology. Plan to start each service in FY2019 to FY2020.
- TB-LAM was chosen for the Phase 2 GHIT Fund (FY2018 to FY2022). We will conduct further clinical trials toward WHO certification and commercialization, aiming to “terminate tuberculosis epidemics by 2030.”
- Spread our diagnosis systems in emerging countries and continue to provide education for medical environment improvement.
Utilizing AI and IoT in the Medical IT Field
The Fujifilm Group provides medical IT worldwide to efficiently utilize X-ray Diagnostic Imaging Systems, endoscopes, ultrasonic diagnostic systems, etc. that offer high-precision diagnoses. Our Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS),* SYNAPSE, boasts the largest market in Japan supporting doctors' imaging diagnosis through our exclusive image processing and recognition technology that make various types of lesions more visible.
We have developed AI technology that can support (1) medical imaging diagnoses, (2) streamline departmental workflows, and (3) automate medical equipment maintenance services. In April 2018, we announced this AI technology under the brand name, REiLI. We are now creating AI technology by combining the image recognition technology that we cultivated to date with deep learning, and further fusing this AI technology with PACS. This fusion should enable us to develop AI technology and solutions that comprehensively support the diagnostic imaging workflow, such as helping detect a potential lesion image from a series of images and creating a semi-automatic report by comparing the image with past cases. In order to address various diseases, we offer an open platform from the development stage. We are also seeking business partners from AI technology vendors across the world who possess superior technologies. By combining diverse AI technologies both from inside and outside our company, we will provide a wide range of services that support doctors' diagnoses and working efficiency.
* PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System): An image diagnosis system in which images captured by CT, MRI, DR, and the other devices are stored in a server, and doctors can display these images on a local terminal in the hospital to interpret them. The number of captured images is increasing in recent years, and a solution that allows doctors to efficiently interpret and diagnose such images is required.
Efforts for Early Detection of Infectious Diseases
Fujifilm has developed a diagnostic system to detect the influenza virus at an early stage of infection using highly sensitive identification technology, to which the unique silver amplification technology used in the photographic film development process is applied. We are working to expand this innovative technology into equipment to enable early detection of various infections across the world.
Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the three major infectious diseases in the world. As a single infectious disease, it accounts for the largest number of deaths in the world. In 2016, 10.4 million people developed tuberculosis and 1.7 million people died from it. In addition, HIV patients, more frequently found in developing countries, tend to easily develop tuberculosis due to their weakened immune systems. However, a TB screening system for HIV patients is not available in areas where the medical infrastructure is inadequate. There was therefore a strong demand for the development of POCT* kit that was sensitive, easy-to-use, fast at diagnoses, and available at a reasonable cost. In April 2016, Fujifilm started development of TB-LAM jointly with FIND using a subsidy from the GHIT Fund, and completed Phase 1 development in 2017. TB-LAM is a highly sensitive kit that uses urine specimens to detect tuberculosis among HIV patients. In May 2016, we conducted a large-scale clinical evaluation in South Africa. From 2018, we plan to conduct clinical trials to acquire further evidence, which is driven by GHIT Fund's Phase 2. These trials are aimed to be included in the WHO's list of recommended medical device which is essential for our kit to be adopted in developing countries. In order for our kit to be adopted in countries that are suffering from TB, we will also promote our kit to the Ministries of Health of the relevant countries, human rights organizations, and global health NGOs, in addition to the WHO. We have now obtained simulation results that TB-LAM could reduce the TB infection rate by 16% and mortality by 39% in 10 years if the kit were to be widely used for HIV patients and children. The kit will greatly contribute to reducing both TB mortality rates and the spread of infection.
* POCT (Point of Care Test): An examination system that can be performed near the patient and provide results on the spot.
Efforts to Improve the Medical Environment in Emerging Countries
The Fujifilm Group has been offering support for medical skill improvement, human resource development, and medical infrastructure organization in various areas across the world. This has been achieved through participation in the international promotion of Japanese medical technology and services led by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, and other organizations, as well as through Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA). We particularly focused on spreading screening systems for breast cancer and other diseases in Middle Eastern countries where screening systems are not common, such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia. We have been promoting installation of digital mammography systems and offering image interpretation seminars, based on the cooperative relationships with Middle Eastern governments that we have built up over the years. In Africa, we have been leading the installation of medical equipment and training programs for doctors and technicians in areas where medical facilities are not sufficient through Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects. Through such efforts, we installed digital X-ray system in 13 medical institutions across Zambia in 2017, making screenings that used to be only available in cities more widely accessible across the country. Also, in Indonesia and Brazil, we established a medical infrastructure to realize telemedicine services in order to help correct disparities in medical standards between urban and rural areas.
In Thailand, we are preparing for the overseas business expansion of CureSign, which is already widespread in Japan. Thailand is experiencing a rising problem in terms of lifestyle diseases, along with its economic growth, yet disease prevention awareness and health check rates remain low. Our project received grants as a part of the JETRO Project for Nurturing New Industries in ASEAN and Japan, which will conclude on September 30, 2018. In the remaining period of the project, we are making progress with the final verifications toward CureSign commercialization.
Mammography seminars for doctors were held across Latin America. This photo: Mexico.
In Qatar, we were involved in the National Screening Project for Breast and Colon Cancer and the Nationally Unified IT Project, contributing to raising the level of medical treatment for the whole country.
Diffusion of Health Checks in Emerging Countries
(Fujifilm signed a memorandum with the Saudi Arabian General Sports Authority to establish the
country's first women's health check center)
Exchanged a memorandum with Princess Reema, who is responsible for sports promotion among women in the General Sports Authority
Fujifilm has reached an agreement with the Saudi Arabian General Sports Authority concerning cooperation in maintenance of the country's first women's health check center and exchanged a memorandum. Saudi Arabia is currently working through its growth strategy, Saudi Vision 2030. Japan has agreed on economic cooperation with the Saudi government, and one of these cooperation fields is healthcare and medicals. Our cooperation project is being realized through efforts by governments of the two countries and Saudi Arabia's promotion of the social advancement of women as a part of its growth strategy. In Saudi Arabia, obesity among women is recently becoming a problem but in the Middle East and Africa region, there are no health check systems like those in Japan. Fujifilm is supporting Saudi Arabian women to be healthy and active, making full use of our expertise as employed in Japan's medical services, which boast some of the world's most prestigious standards. We are contributing to organizing a health check system for women and eventually for all people in Saudi Arabia.
Note: The article on this page is taken from Sustainability Report 2018.