Sep 1, 2022
Breast cancer has become the top cancer threat for Chinese women, with more than 400,000 new diagnoses each year
Screening and early diagnosis are the most effective ways to reduce breast cancer mortality. For more than 30 years, the developed countries in the West have established a mature breast cancer screening system based on mammography where the detection rate of breast cancer can reach 8/1000, resulting in better survival.
However, mammography is not suitable for the majority of Chinese women with dense breasts (described as “finding a snowman in snowstorm”) The chances of missing cancer in this situation is very high. In the past 10 years, China has applied the ultrasound + mammography breast cancer screening system, and the cancer detection rate is only 0.5/1000.
MRI is a well-known modality for accurate detection and diagnosis of breast cancer, an imaging approach not affected by dense breasts. The breast cancer detection rate using MRI can reach more than 10/1000 in general population screening; however, it has been difficult to win complete acceptance in the past due to the high cost.
Aurora has devoted more than 20 years in developing and manufacturing breast MRI. In order to meet the demand of the vast Chinese market, Aurora teamed up with Alltech Medical, a well-established MRI company in Sichuan to launch China’s first dedicated breast MRI system. The Aurora-Alltech (AA) team integrated hardware and software technologies including intelligent manufacturing and artificial intelligence to optimize the advantages of the breast MRI system. As a result, the AA breast MRI system not only significantly improves the accuracy of breast cancer diagnosis, but also could shorten the examination time by 2/3 to enhance the comfort of the breast MRI examination. “Through more than 20-year’s journey, Aurora aimed its mission as ‘Light in the dark sky of the North Pole’ representing a beacon for patients in their dark journey fighting breast cancer. We are grateful for many colleagues, partners and collaborators’ assistance, and by gathering all our efforts we hope to broaden our impact to help patients and women not only to defeat the disease but also to improve their lives and the lives of their families,” said Olivia Ho Cheng, Aurora’s CEO.
By combining 5G and AI technologies with a mobile vehicle, the precise diagnostic capability of dedicated breast MRI can be offered beyond large hospitals and primary care institutions . Through a series of technological innovations in breast MRI specialization, intellectualization, and mobility, the cost of breast MRI precision diagnosis can be reduced by 80%, making the MRI-based precision diagnosis available to benefit hundreds of millions of women. The high detection rate of breast MRI could significantly improve by more than 5-fold over the current low detection rate in China, helping to spare millions of patients and their families from the threat of breast cancer.
For patients accurately diagnosed with cancer by breast MRI, we believe they should follow the internationally established Western medicine treatment protocols. For patients diagnosed with benign disease by breast MRI, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can play an important and alternative/integrated role with conventional Western medicine. The high-resolution, 3-D breast MRI images could be used for evaluation pre and post of TCM treatment for its effectiveness. Incorporating the MRI imaging and TCM treatment could further establish the evidence-based practice for TCM and expand the application of TCM in disease prevention, treatment, and health status management, leveraging Sichuan’s centuries-long history in TCM as the only national TCM comprehensive reform demonstration area in western China to help its population.
We envision that further integration of 5G technology and breast ultrasound artificial intelligence will enhance remote diagnosis capacity/quality in rural primary care facilities. In addition, by adding mobile breast MRI, precision imaging could be made available in primary care facilities in rural areas. There are more than 50,000 primary care institutions nationwide that could be potentially benefited by these high-quality breast imaging technologies to improve the effectiveness of breast screening and diagnosis.
Through technological innovation and integration, we could largely reduce the cost of breast MRI exams, making this precision clinical service more affordable and accessible. We envision that the combination of 5G enabled ultrasound and breast MRI could be established as a standard protocol for China breast cancer screening and diagnosis pathways, tailored for the dense breasts of Chinese women. The integrated Western Medicine and TCM could systematically reshape the comprehensive healthcare system to include prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of the malignant or benign breast diseases. Ideally, this integration of Western Medicine and TCM could be the "China Solution" for breast care. Once we successfully develop the China Solution for breast cancer care, we could leverage the experience for application to other major diseases. We are enthusiastic about leading the transformation of better utilization of advanced medical diagnosis capacity with intellectualization, mobility, and innovative service models to advance a new generation of smart health and technology industries.
About Aurora Healthcare US Corp.
Aurora Healthcare US Corp. (“Aurora”), a privately held company based in Massachusetts, USA, manufactures the only MRI system dedicated to breast imaging for screening and diagnostic indications. The integration of Aurora’s multiple innovations in hardware and software result in MRI studies with higher resolution and fewer artifacts and anatomic distortions that are typical of general-use MRI. The Aurora Breast Clinic (ABC) embeds Aurora’s technological leadership at the core of a comprehensive diagnostic and survivorship care system. Building on its U.S. foundation, Aurora is expanding into global footprints to China, Asia and other continents of the world. Aurora is committed to alliance resources internationally to become whole solution providers in breast cancer and women healthcare.
Aurora Healthcare US Corp