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Gene decoding technology enables cancer screening in Vietnam
By Chi Thinh and Van Ly
Monday,  Feb 25, 2019,14:37 (GMT+7)

Gene decoding technology enables cancer screening in Vietnam

By Chi Thinh and Van Ly

Dr. Cao Anh Tuan (2nd R), CEO of Genetica Vietnam, poses for a photo with representatives of American International Hospital - PHOTO: CHI THINH

HCMC – Genetics testing company Genetica Vietnam on February 24 clinched deals with American International Hospital (AIH) and suppliers in HCMC to launch healthcare services focusing on decoding human genes, which help people with cancer screening and detecting hereditary diseases in children.

Under the agreements, AIH and two suppliers, D-fit Vietnam Trading and Service Co., Ltd, and Thanh Chan Medical JSC, will introduce and give advice on these services to customers.

As for human gene decoding services, Genetica uses a specialized saliva collection kit that preserves collected saliva samples, instead of taking blood tests. The collected samples are sent to the United States for gene decoding and analysis at the customers’ request, a process that takes six to eight weeks.

Human gene decoding gives people more information on their genome, allowing them to map out appropriate plans for their children’s development, fitness and nutrition based on doctors’ advice. Further, they can receive advice on preventive measures against hidden diseases, including hereditary cancers, according to a Genetica Vietnam representative.

Addressing the launch ceremony, Dr. Cao Anh Tuan, CEO of Genetica Vietnam, said that Genetica leverages advanced technology in artificial intelligence (AI) and a database featuring Asians to offer these services. In the coming period, Genetica aims to expand its business scale and establish cooperation with more hospitals and suppliers in the country to increase the use of human gene decoding services.

In related news, experts said at a conference over the weekend in Hanoi that the application of AI in the local healthcare sector still remains modest.

Advanced technologies in AI have been widely leveraged in the field of health checkups and treatments in many countries, but these applications have been little used in Vietnam, prompting the Ministry of Health to call for cooperation among local businesses to promote the application of AI in the field.

Pham Xuan Viet, deputy head of the Information and Technology (IT) Department at the ministry, encouraged enterprises operating in the country, especially local firms, to cooperate in studying AI-deployed healthcare products, at the conference on applying AI in the healthcare sector, which was co-organized by the ministry and local technology corporation FPT on February 22 in Hanoi.

The IT department will create favorable conditions for companies that participate in the project, Viet added.

According to Ho Tu Bao, working at Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, electronic medical records leveraging AI technologies are widely used in many countries around the world but remain little known in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, e-medical records play a pivotal role in the digital age since they can help shorten the time needed for health checkups and treatments for both doctors and patients. They also support doctors in providing more accurate medical prescriptions.

The health ministry reportedly plans to ask some hospitals and medical centers to launch e-medical records from next month. Further, all hospitals and medical centers across the country must launch e-medical records during the 2024-2028 period.

Regarding the benefits of applying AI in the field, AI can help the healthcare sector cut medical costs by up to 50% and increase the effectiveness of health checkups and treatments by 40%, said Prof. Nguyen Tien Dung from Toulouse University in France.

Over the next decade, AI technology is expected to help the United States save an annual amount of US$150 billion in medical costs, while global savings amount to some US$500 billion, Dung added.

The healthcare sector is one of the fields that recorded the highest numbers of AI applications, and AI could help change the face of the sector in the years to come. Data from Marketsandmarkets show that the AI-related medical market saw robust growth of 50% per year, from US$2.1 billion last year to an estimated US$36 billion by 2025, making up some 20% of the global AI market.

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