Tue, Nov 28, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Innovation center wins medical patents

By Angelica Oung  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Innovation and Incubation Center of Mackay Memorial Hospital has announced the registration of two patents for breakthroughs made by the hospital's staff.

Marie Lin (林媽利), of Mackay's Transfusion Medicine Laboratory, developed an inexpensive and convenient method of ensuring blood donor compatibility, while former Mackay nurse Chu Shiow-jen (初秀珍) designed an ergonomic medical corset that aids the recovery of patients who have undergone open-heart or other forms of chest surgery.

"My motivation has always been to help people, especially in Third World countries," said Lin, whose findings were published in the medical journal Transfusion.

Lin has been to Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia to teach her method.

"With the slide polybrene method, blood donor compatibility can be determined in five minutes without expensive centrifuges and microscopes," Lin said.

As for Chu, her idea to build a better corset came after working with patients who had undergone open-heart surgeries.

Medical corset

According to Chu, her corset is an improvement on traditional medical corsets, which are just straight bands of fabric that are wrapped around the torso.

"This corset can be used for men and women," Chu said, "but it is especially beneficial for female patients because there is better suport for the chest."

Chu's corset is adjustable and has shoulder straps to offer additional support.

According to a Mackay superintendent, Huang Chun-hsiung (黃俊雄), the incubation center was started in 2002, the first of its kind to be established by a hospital in Taiwan.

"We have world-class research facilities, especially from the point of view of biotechnology," Huang said. "Our goal is to better utilize these facilities by opening them up to small and medium-scale busi-nesses that need to put their ideas to the test."

For Mackay staff like Chu and Lin, the incubation center provides support to help their products reach the market.

"We have already found one company which is interested in manufacturing Chu Shiow-jen's medical corset," said Chu Chien-ming (朱建明), the center's project manager.

"However, we'd like to take more companies into consideration before we make our decision," Chu Chien-ming said.

Out of the 21 companies that have worked with the center, nine have "graduated," according to Huang.

"Some of those companies have enormous economic potential," Huang said.

"We are working on a fish feed containing monoclonal antibodies that could stop the viral outbreaks that currently limits aquaculture," Huang said.

Mackay's innovation and incubation center remains the only one of its kind associated with a hospital in Taiwan.

Visionary

Although the center receives an annual subsidy of NT$2.5 million (US$76,200) from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and has already began to benefit from profit-sharing schemes, it is not yet a moneymaker for Mackay.

"It requires a lot of vision on the part of the hospital to support a facility like this," Huang said. "Although the center currently requires a lot of investments, we are hoping that in the long run the investment will pay off."

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