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On February 4, World Cancer Day will draw attention to a disease that affects many people and their families. Tumors of various forms claim many victims from all age groups and genders. The research being done on modern diagnostic capabilities and on new, more effective therapies is of great importance. Many billions in research funds and hundreds of thousands of experts worldwide, including researchers, doctors and academic entrepreneurs, are hard at work in this area.
PARK INNOVAARE is also a site of research on improving the treatment of tumors. The very successful proton therapy developed at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) has even become the world's leading method for treating ocular melanoma. As of today, thousands of people have been treated with protons here in Villigen and have been cured at a success rate of 98%. Other promising concepts and methods are on their way.
There are a number of start-ups residing at PARK INNOVAARE that have dedicated themselves to the fight against cancer. The following are some selected examples:
- Advanced Accelerator Technology provides components for the improvement of proton therapy facilities used to monitor the precision of the proton beam that is used for tumor treatments. The company helps to equip these facilities and is thus helping spread this form of therapy. As a result, so says Dr. Udo Klein, CEO, we will help more people around the world have the chance to be treated successfully.
- GratXray is working on new imaging techniques that will make it possible to eliminate the current deficits of breast cancer diagnosis. As of today, there are too many imprecise results; therapy, besides being painful for patients, entails uncertainties. For this reason, large-scale prevention screenings are a topic of criticism. The new technology, based on many years of research work, will help create a new gold standard, says Dr. Martin Stauber, CEO.
- leadXpro is researching and discovering new medical compounds for cancer therapy, thanks to the large research facilities of the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI). Their focus is on substances that can reach tissues that biopharmaceutical molecules cannot or can hardly reach. Examples for this include pancreatic cancer and brain tumors. Totally new therapeutic approaches are possible, says Prof. Dr. Michael Hennig, CEO.
- PharmaTRAYCE will soon be equipping Swiss hospitals with new “tracers”: the combination of a radionuclide and a carrier molecule. The company will also be working with Scandium-44 later on; its specific forms of application for cancer diagnosis were developed at PSI. Specially programmed, the tracers navigate towards very specific areas in the human body. They are thus able to provide extremely precise information about the location and nature of a tumor; oncologists can then use this information as the basis for their treatment plan. Dr. Sebastian Schegk at PharmaTRAYCE deems this to be a tremendous step towards personalized medicine and the successful treatment of metastasized tumors.
At PARK INNOVAARE, we support those and other highly innovative technology companies. All companies resident in PARK INNOVAARE are refer to the Paul Scherrer Institute by using the accelerator technology or neighbouring technologies for developing groundbreaking products and services. They do find here perfect conditions for their development. The site is currently experiencing the growth of an ecosystem of companies, start-ups, joint ventures and – soon – also large established technology companies. There are already eleven companies residing at the Park. Others have expressed interest or are on the verge of being established. The fight against cancer is a central thrust of PARK INNOVAARE’s development.