How has the “Stroke Hunter” evolved?

时间:

2019-08-26
Media News

▎医药观澜/报道


     

    Yalta, a famous tourist resort in the Crimean Peninsula and an important estuary of the Black Sea, witnessed an eight-day conference from February 4 to 11, 1945. Since then, the small seaside town of Yalta has left an indelible mark in history. The Yalta Conference was attended by the then US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Union’s Supreme Commander Joseph Stalin. As a result of their talks, the fate and orientation of many countries after the Second World War were settled. However, no one could predit that the three great figures that altered the course of history would end up falling in the evils’ clutch - stroke, a common opponent for them. 


    In fact, stroke has been torturing numerous people no matter they are celebrities or civilians. According to a report of the World Health Organization (WHO), stroke is the second leading cause of death and the third leading cause of disability globally. In China, the situation is even severer. The Report on Stroke Prevention and Treatment in China for 2018 pointed out that stroke is the number one cause of death and disability among Chinese adults and is featured with “5 highs”, high morbidity, high disability, high mortality, high recurrence rate, and high economic burden. According to the data of World Bank, the number of stroke patients in China is estimated to exceed 30 million by 2030. Stroke has therefore become the sword of Damocles over the head of human, making people turn pale at the mention of it. How should human address the threat of stroke that has arrived?


    In the novel Water Margin, a man named Wu Song in the Song Dynasty drank eighteen bowls of spirit at a restaurant and then killed a tiger that usually hurt people on the Jingyang ridge with his own fists, removing great harm for the people. Today, in the face of beast-like stroke, a “hunter” like Wu Song has also emerged in the field of interventional neuroradiology in China — Hua Medtech Medical Devices (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. (Hua MedTech). By integrating advanced stroke diagnosis and treatment technologies and products, Hua MedTech has opened a door of hope for innumerable stroke patients with innovative solutions. Today we are going to tell the story of this “stroke hunter”.



“卒中猎手”炼成记



Time is brain


    In July 2017, Hua MedTech opened the first page of its “life” calendar in Shanghai. Compared with many long-established names in the medical device industry, Hua MedTech is still at a young age, focusing its attention on the field of interventional neuroradiology. 


    As we all know, stroke can be divided into the two categories of hemorrhagic stroke and ischemic stroke (i.e. cerebral infarction). In China, 70% of stroke falls into the category of ischemic stroke. In view of this fact, Hua MedTech has focused on providing products and services that are oriented towards the Chinese market and best suited for Chinese patients and doctors to meet the unfulfilled medical needs of stroke (especially cerebral infarction).


    In the movie Kung Fu Hustle directed by Stephen Chow, there is a famous line: For the worldwide martial arts, there is no one impregnable, only the swiftness is invincible. This line vividly illustrates the importance of rapidness in martial arts — with an extremely fast speed, one can defeat the enemy even with the simplest moves. For stroke patients, time is life and time is brain. As the first step in diagnosis and treatment, “quick diagnosis” is exceedingly critical. Data show that for patients with acute cerebral infarction, 100,000 brain cells will die permanently for every 3-second delay in treatment. At present, the diagnosis of stroke is still highly dependent on imaging.    


     Nevertheless, for medical staff and patients, the existing method, manual image reading, undoubtedly requires more time and results in the risk of subjective judgment.



“卒中猎手”炼成记

▲Rapid Intelligent Assisted Diagnosis System (Image source: Hua MedTech)


    To save patients with cerebral infarction, every second is precious. Meantime, given the large individual differences in the brain, the same treatment may not bring similar clinical results. In order to diagnose patients faster and more accurately and guide follow-up treatment, Hua MedTech has introduced an intelligent assisted diagnosis system named Rapid. As its name suggests, with the help of multiple imaging platforms, Rapid can rapidly complete automatic analysis and scoring within only 30 to 120 seconds based on the patient’s situation, allowing doctors to easily learn the extent of ischemic changes in patients and determine the feasibility of thrombectomy. It also actualizes clear brain visualizations to help doctors make quick decisions and initiate treatment. Because of these characteristics, the system has been certified and recommended by both the FDA and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, which is rarely seen in the industry.

    Zhang Wei, CEO of Hua MedTech, has high expectations for this system to benefit stroke patients in China. “On the one hand, the Rapid intelligent assisted diagnostic system can provide strong diagnostic evidence for follow-up stroke treatment,” he suggested, “On the other hand, it can provide a lot of important medical data in the future, which in turn will further improve the diagnostic efficiency.” So far, the Rapid system has been used in more than 1,000 institutions in more than 40 countries in the world, with the number of scans hitting more than 250,000 per year. With its further popularization in China, the Rapid system is expected to noticeably improve the diagnosis efficiency of stroke, winning more precious time for patients, Zhang Wei stated.



“卒中猎手”炼成记


▲Rapid image (Image source: official website of iSchemaView)


        From the perspective of clinical diagnosis and treatment, diagnosis is undoubtedly an extremely important part. However, the ultimate purpose of diagnosis is notably to achieve rapid and precise treatment thereafter. As for how to serve patient treatment better, Hua MedTech has offered its own solutions.



 

The magic of thrombosis aspiration


    As early as about 400 BC, Hippocrates, a famed ancient Greek doctor, had known stroke and called it a sudden-onset paralysis. The Chinese people’s understanding of stroke was first recorded in the Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor, where stroke was described as “hemiplegia” and “sudden coma”. Unfortunately, even if humans had known of stroke for a long time, they were unable to put forward effective ways to cure stroke for a period of more than 2,000 years. In desperation, people even came up with various peculiar methods such as bloodletting and acupuncture to treat stroke. 


    In the 20th century, the treatment of stroke saw its breakthroughs as the science and technology advanced and scientists probed into the pathogenesis of stroke deeper and deeper. At the moment, the common treatment methods for cerebral infarction include drug thrombolysis and stent retriever. Drug thrombolysis, a treatment method that dissolves thrombus by injecting drugs, is widely used, easy to implement, and relatively low in cost, while for acute cerebral infarction with high requirement for therapeutic time window and the risk of bleeding, especially for those caused by occlusion of large blood vessels, drug thrombolysis has the shortcoming of low recanalization rate. Stent retriever, a treatment method that pulls the thrombus out of the body directly through the stent, can extend the therapeutic time window and effectively unblock large blood vessel occlusion but has disadvantages such as longer operation time and higher vascular injury rate.



“卒中猎手”炼成记

▲Penumbra® System ACE™ thrombosis aspiration catheter system (Image source: Hua MedTech)


    Then, how to achieve recanalization faster, more effectively and more safely, and create more rehabilitation possibilities for patients with cerebral infarction? After continuous exploration and analysis, Hua MedTech reached cooperation with American company Penumbra in August 2017 and introduced from the latter an intracranial thrombosis aspiration system. It’s worth mentioning that this is China’s first intracranial thrombosis aspiration system certified by National Medical Products Administration (NMPA). Specifically, through the use of the ADAPT technology, the system can suck the thrombus into the catheter and remove it from the body like a “vacuum cleaner”, having the advantages of simple operation, short opening time, no pain, low bleeding rate, and high safety compared to other treatment methods.


    This “thrombosis cleaner” has also achieved outstanding clinical performance — the application of this system can extend the therapeutic time window for arterial occlusion to 8 hours after the onset of stroke and bring a faster revascularization rate and a better prognostic quality of life. So far, this system has been used in more than 130 hospitals in China (such as Beijing Tiantan Hospital and West China Hospital). Recently, Shanghai’s Changhai Hospital successfully used this aspiration system in the treatment of a patient with cute middle occlusion of the basilar artery. The time from puncture to recanalization was only 8 minutes. “Chinese doctors have a strong ability to adapt to new technologies, and what they are in need of is technologically advanced products. ADAPT technology, a new concept with increasingly prominent core advantages, are being accepted by more and more doctors and patients,” said Zhang Wei, who is full of confidence in ADAPT technology.


“卒中猎手”炼成记


▲Schematic drawing of thrombosis aspiration (Image source: Penumbra)

    From diagnosis to treatment, Hua MedTech has taken a firm and powerful step. Then, what blueprint does Hua MedTech have for the future?



 

Blueprint for the future

    The National Stroke Center of China states in an announcement that by 2020, more than 60% of county-level cities, 80% of prefecture-level cities, and 100% of provinces (province-level autonomous regions and municipalities) must build up at least one stroke center. At the same time, various regions have also established “stroke green channels” and launched “stroke maps”.



“卒中猎手”炼成记

Zhang Wei, CEO of Hua MedTech (Source: Hua MedTech )


    In the process of advancing this major project, Hua MedTech, which regards it as an incumbent responsibility to cooperate with the government and hospitals to accelerate the development of the stroke system, will also make continuous improvements and provide better diagnosis and treatment technologies and services. “The primary demand for stroke treatment is rapidness. Technology will definitely develop towards the direction of high efficiency, intelligence, low cost and systematization in the next 5 to 10 years, which will allow more patients to be treated and improve prognosis and rehabilitation,” Zhang Wei explained, “Hua MedTech will gradually shift its focus from the current product introduction to production, R & D and data services. Its continuous innovation will empower China’s stroke market and create maximum value for society.”


    As it is said in Chapter VIII. Taibo of The Analects of Confucius, “As we have a long way to go in future, we must have a powerful will and open mindset.” Let us look forward to this stroke hunter bringing the dawn of life for more patients.