|October 3, 2018: EmpowerRT training radiotherapy physicists and therapists on IMRT at the Cancer Diseases Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia.|
The Global Health Innovator Award was created as a part of the new Innovations in Global Health Program at The MedTech Conference, aimed at identifying ways to accelerate innovation and support the deployment of affordable and appropriate medical technologies in the developing world. While innovative medical technologies have the potential to impact the lives of patients and healthcare workers worldwide, significant barriers keep many resource-constrained populations from accessing these technologies.
According to the World Health Organization, cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, with an estimated 9.6 million related deaths in 2018. What is even more surprising is that approximately 70% of deaths from cancer will occur in Low to Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). As Sha Chang, Founder of EmpowerRT, emphatically states, “This huge disparity between High-Income Countries (HICs) and LMICs is simply unacceptable.”
“The MedTech Conference, aimed at identifying ways to accelerate innovation and support the deployment of affordable and appropriate medical technologies in the developing world. While innovative medical technologies have the potential to impact the lives of patients and healthcare workers worldwide, significant barriers keep many resource-constrained populations from accessing these technologies.”
While there have been significant advancements in radiation therapy technology, these modern digital solutions are simply too expensive for cancer clinics in LMICs and require clean power and water, technology infrastructure, and highly trained professionals. These solutions are currently not affordable nor easily adoptable.
EmpowerRT was formed to bring a clinically-proven, low cost Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy solution that has been standard of care for years in HICs and has been successfully used to control cancers in HICs for the same cancers that are contributing to an extremely high mortality rate in LMICs. Not only is this solution low-cost, but it is also recyclable and retrofittable.
Sha Chang, Founder of EmpowerRT, added, “As an organization, EmpowerRT is honored to receive this award, and we are excited because the TEAMFund initiative aligns so well with our vision of creating a world where people in every country can have access to standard of care radiation therapy, regardless of income. We are progressing quite well with the Republic of Zambia – Cancer Diseases Hospital, our first early adopter of EmpowerRT. With our low-cost solution, Zambia will be able to offer IMRT to their people for the first time ever.”
Chang, a Professor of Physics in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, is the leading authority on recyclable compensator-based IMRT and the in-house development of PLUNC – UNC’s radiotherapy planning software. EmpowerRT has licensed and is currently commercializing the same compensator-based IMRT solution that UNC has used for decades and aims to bring standard of care radiotherapy to cancer clinics, globally.