Andreas Fhager and Strokefinder
​Andreas Fhager, Associate Professor at Chalmers, testing the Strokefinder MD100 on Erik von Brömssen. Photo: Henrik Sandsjö
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New research lab for cancer treatment and new diagnostics

​A new medical technology research lab will be built at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, starting this fall. The lab is a major investment in clinical research, and a collaboration between the hospital, Chalmers, Sahlgrenska Academy and Region Västra Götaland.
New methods for diagnosis and treatment – and in the long run better healthcare – will be results of the new lab, which is expected to be completed in May 2021. The lab will house research equipment with microwaves and biomagnetic sensor technologies. Microwave research will initially focus on new treatment methods for head, throat and neck cancer, as well as non-invasive diagnosis of bleeding in brain and muscles, and breast cancer. For the biomagnetic sensors, functional studies of the brain are planned, with magnetoencephalography for patients suffering from diseases like epilepsy and dementia, and studies of heart rhythm disturbances with magnetocardiography.

"Define needs and develop solutions"

The new lab will provide improved opportunities for researchers from clinics, academia and industry in the west of Sweden to collaborate and conduct research projects with the patient in focus.
“Chalmers gives high priority to strengthening the collaboration between the areas of medicine and technology, and the new lab is one more piece in this puzzle. When engineers and clinicians spend time in the same environment, and are really given the opportunity to interact, they are able to together define needs and develop solutions”, says Stefan Bengtsson, President at Chalmers University of Technology.

The research lab will be run by MedTech West, a biomedical technology research platform that has also been in charge of planning. MedTech West is owned by Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Chalmers, Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Region Västra Götaland and the University of Borås. Chalmers has also deepened collaboration with the other parties through newly launched Health Engineering Area of Advance, where close dialogue is conducted to develop new forms of collaboration in both research and education.

Unique environment

Investments in the lab are made together with the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, and it is strategically very important for western Sweden. The lab will contain an electrically and magnetically shielded examination and treatment room, where research will be conducted. This room is the first of its kind outside Swedish capital Stockholm, and the unique setting creates long-term conditions for the development of research areas that require an environment close to patients. Collaboration between different cutting-edge competencies is also a cornerstone of the lab.
“This is an important step in the right direction. Together, we drive healthcare forward through research in collaboration with other strong players”, Ann-Marie Wennberg, CEO and Professor at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, comments.

Broad applications

The innovative medical technology tools planned to already be in place in the coming six months may be of great use in many areas. Examples include neuroscience, oncology, trauma, cardiology and psychiatry.
“The lab’s technologies, and state-of-the-art expertise from Chalmers and collaborating companies, will give our researchers from the Sahlgrenska Academy excellent opportunities to lead their research in new directions. The lab will be a completely new arena where we can develop our important collaboration with prominent researchers at Chalmers, says Agneta Holmäng, Dean at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.

Facts about the new research lab

The new research collaboration lab will be a total of 36 square meters in size, and consists of a magnetically shielded examination and treatment room, a so-called MSR (Magnetically Shielded Room). Magnetic shielding from the outside world is required for the superconducting biomagnetic sensors used in MEG (magnetoencephalography) and MCG (magnetocardiography) to successfully capture the very weak magnetic fields emitted by the brain and heart. Previously, there is only one MSR used for medical research in Sweden, located at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. The room will also be electrically shielded, which is required for microwave research.

The inauguration is expected to take place in May 2021. The research lab will be located in the Radiology Department’s premises on entrance level, in the new Image and Intervention Centre (BoIC), Blå Stråket 5, at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.
MedTech West is a collaborative research platform, with the task of strengthening medical technology research in western Sweden. The research platform was founded in 2009 by Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Region Västra Götaland, Chalmers University of Technology, the University of Gothenburg and the University of Borås.

Text: Mia Malmstedt, Helene Lindström
Photo of Stefan Bengtsson: Johan Bodell. Photo of Ann-Marie Wennberg: Sahlgrenska University Hospital. Photo of Andreas Fhager, and of Paul Meaney and Samar Hosseinzadegan: Henrik Sandsjö.

Published: Thu 24 Sep 2020.