Among the strategic projects of Wesgro – a local trade and investment agency – are included Air Access, to develop international air routes in and out of Cape Town, and the Cape Health Technology Park, to establish a world-class facility focused on innovation. Wesgro has just released a series of videos to promote Cape Town and the Western Cape as the “Health Tech Hub of Africa,” with five local organisations featured.
H3D is Africa’s first integrated drug discovery and development centre, located at the University of Cape Town, whose mission is to discover and develop life-saving medicines for African patients through translational science. The Biovac Institute is a manufacturer of quality vaccines for Africa and the developing world, responding to regional epidemics and preventable diseases. The Centre for Proteomic & Genomic Research (CPGR) is a non-profit organisation that provides state-of-the-art “omics” services to the life science and biotech communities. Afriplex uses African botanicals to develop a range of innovative ingredients and final products for the pharmaceutical, veterinary and food & beverage industries.
CapeRay was the fifth company featured, with its story told in this video (click here). According to CEO Kit Vaughan, “What we’ve done and what is unique, is to combine X-rays and ultrasound into a single system so that we are able to detect breast cancer early.” He continued, “What excites me about working in a company like CapeRay and on a product like Aceso, is the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of women. If we can detect just one cancer early enough so that it can be successfully treated, then we’ve made a meaningful difference.”
Norah Mabota (seen above left), an experienced mammographer who made vital contributions when Aceso was being tested in clinical trials, commented: “The time spent at the radiology department is definitely reduced so that means less stress for the women because you find that they get quite anxious, waiting to go from the mammo room to the ultrasound room.” That’s a primary benefit of CapeRay’s dual-modality system compared to two separate systems: it takes just 10 minutes to acquire full-field digital mammography (FFDM) and automated breast ultrasound (ABUS) images with Aceso (click here for the brochure), with the added benefit that the breasts are in the identical orientation and degree of compression for both sets of images.
As Wesgro has emphasised, Cape Town and the Western Cape have a thriving health tech industry, a burgeoning R&D landscape, four top universities, a host of academic hospitals and world-class infrastructure. Now that’s a platform we can all build on!