There are many forms of human health progress. We learn more about how illness works. We are pioneering new diagnoses and treatments. We come up with a better way to care for those who need it.
But at the most basic level, biomedical advances depend on our ability to look inside the human body and understand what is happening. When new technology enhances its capabilities (think ultrasound, or MRI), it unleashes a wave of innovation across disciplines and opens the boundaries of what medicine can do.
We are at the tip of such a wave. New technologies make it increasingly possible to visualize the interactions between individual cells in the body, as well as the interactions within them. The more mature these technologies are, the more discoveries they drive, and the closer we are to the prevention and treatment of diseases at the true cellular level.
What is less certain is whether the benefits of tomorrow’s bioimaging technology will be shared fairly, or will only come to the wealthy developed countries who can afford them.
Currently, we support the latter.Currently, North America and Western Europe account for about 2.5% of GDP Scientific research And development. However, in regions such as Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa, R & D spending is only 1.0, 0.7, and 0.4 percent of GDP, respectively. If you are a biomedical scientist in one of these parts of the world, it is generally difficult to raise money, especially for the amount of money you need to buy state-of-the-art equipment.
One way to avoid cost issues is to pool and share resources. In Latin America, for example, many biomedical scientists conduct research using publicly shared facilities and equipment. However, in other regions, this model does not exist. No infrastructure has been built and there is no scientific network to enable this kind of collaboration.
Together, these barriers and others hinder biomedical research and exacerbate huge inequality in global health.If sub-Saharan African scientists do not have imaging tools to study diseases that are specific to their area and have received little attention from other researchers, it is a new diagnosis and treatment. Slow to come, And in the meantime, more people will die of those illnesses.
These problems will surely be exacerbated if the next generation of imaging technology becomes as unfairly popular as it was last time. It’s easy to realize a world where US doctors can map cancer cells deep inside a patient’s body, monitor them over time, and use that information to design personalized life-saving therapies. It’s done. The patient cannot even detect the patient’s tumor because he does not have access to the appropriate equipment.
It’s a future that makes us all more vulnerable. After all, bioimaging technology also plays an important role in the fight against infectious diseases.They helped the scientist Determine the structure Of Zika virus Paved the way For the first Ebola treatment. Further research of this type is needed to prevent future pandemics. Currently, scientists in many low- and middle-income countries are not in a position to lead a pandemic.
For these and other reasons, leaders in the science and global health community have much more widespread use of state-of-the-art bioimaging technologies and are trained by more scientists to use them. You need to start investing in the world you are in.
Fortunately, this work is already on track. One of the organizations driving it, Global BioImaging, has spent the past few years connecting bioimaging professionals from around the world, from Mexico to India and South Africa. Together, these scientists and facility operators form a region and a regional network. They share data, protocols, and methods. And they are using their collective power to secure the necessary funds and instrumentation.
These networks are still young, but their promises are extraordinary. At a recent conference, European imaging scientists gathered to share progress in cancer research.another Connected We provide European imaging professionals to their corresponding Latin American professionals so they can share their knowledge and best practices. The network also linked European and Latin American politicians and advocated government support for image development.
Especially exciting is the fact that different bioimaging networks catalyze each other’s work. As one facility develops a powerful new method, that knowledge can be disseminated to facilities everywhere. This will accelerate many biomedical research projects at once and help bioimaging professionals attract more attention and investment.
With that in mind, our organization, the Chanzuckerberg Initiative, began funding Global Bioimaging in January 2020. And last month, we announced a new grant opportunity to support bioimaging in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and former Soviet countries.
Our goal is threefold. To help biomedical researchers learn about new and existing imaging technologies that will help them advance their research. Build local expertise in those technologies. To enable scientists and facility operators to form the kind of networks that are very successful in other areas.
Of course, these efforts are just the beginning. Bridging the global gap in bioimaging capabilities requires a wide range of sustainable investments from governments, universities and charities in all parts of the world. If you are part of an organization that you can help, we encourage you to join.
The effort is worth it. In all of our lives, we live in a world where cutting-edge scientific tools are trapped in just a handful of countries. This distorted the agenda of biomedical research, increased global health inequality, and slowed our progress towards life-saving treatments and treatments.
But the future does not have to look like the past. If we take the right steps now, we can put them in the hands of those who are most in need of tomorrow’s imaging technology, and who will drive biomedical progress over the coming decades.
Provided by SciDev.Net
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Why sharing bioimaging technology is important for global health
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