Reasons for and benefits of cooperation
University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC) is one of the Chinese National Key Universities in the 985 project (corresponding to elite universities or excellence clusters in Western countries such as Ivy League in the United States) with massive funding and direct support from the Ministry of Education. It is best known as the top-ranking Chinese University in electronics and communication but also has increasing strengths and investment in a number of other key disciplines including: Engineering, Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics, Medicine (including a medical school), Neuroscience, Biomedical Engineering, Business and Economics. UESTC was ranked in the world’s top 200 universities, according to the latest Academic Rankings of World Universities (ARWU).
UESTC also will benefits to carry out this joint research with the cooperation with the Alltech co. Ltd. in Chengdu, which was the first enterprise announcing 1.5Tesla in China, and with the National Engineering Laboratory for Neuromodulation (NELN) of Prof. Luming Li at University of Tsinghua, Beijing who developed brain deep stimulator DBS for treatment of Parkinson disease.
Established in 2001, School of Life Science and Technology (SLST) of UESTC is carrying out fundamental and cutting-edge research in Biomedical Engineering, Biology and Psychology, and making a significant contribution to the international innovation system. “Biomedical Engineering” was ranked 10th nationally in the 2012 China Discipline Ranking (CDR), and B+ (in the 8-14 band) in the 2017 CDR, on a par with other renown institutions such as Peking University and Fudan University. In the latest Best Chinese Subjects Rankings published by Shanghai Ranking Consultancy in 2019, “Biomedical Engineering” was ranked 4th in China; “Biology” and “Psychology” were also among the best subjects. Based on the Essential Science Indicators (ESI) published by Clarivate Analytics, “Neuroscience and Behavior” is on the global top 7.105‰, and “Biology and Biochemistry” is on the global top 7.37‰.
The Key Laboratory for NeuroInformation, Ministry of Education, and the International Joint Research Center for NeuroInformation, Ministry of Science and Technology at joint research with the cooperation of UESTC are the only professional institutions in China focused on Brain Information and its applications. Over ten more years, they are supported from the Project 863, 973, NSFC Key Project, NSFC for outstanding Youth etc. More than 100 SCI papers and 20 more patents each years, their partners, Alltech, YiXing are leading enterprises in MRI and hospital information system. They are also the Innovation Team for NeuroInformation of Ministry of Education, and Intellectual Introduction Base (111 project) of National Bureau of Foreign Experts and Ministry of Education. Now they have 2 academicians, 6 1000 talents, 4 Changjiang scholars Professors (also NSFC outstanding Youth), and 20 more professors.
The Cuban Neuroscience Center (CNEURO) is a well-known brain research institute, which since 1969 pioneered the use of quantitative methods for the evaluation of the electrical activity of the brain—participating in the development of the computers involved. Contributions to the electronics, methods and software lead to their coauthoring in 1977 the paper introducing Neuromeric in the journal Science. The center rapidly incorporated production and organized for the Cuban health system in the 1980 a network of Laboratories of Clinical Neurophysiology that initiated in 1983 the first national hearing screening program in the world based on electro audiometry. CNEURO has been called upon to develop screening programs for hearing loss, learning disability and other brain disorders as well as to supervise neural studies in nationwide programs for the disabled, not only in Cuba but in other countries of Latin America. A recent example is the introduction of hearing screening program in Ecuador that has examined more than 450,000 children.
These social and market results are the consequence of cutting edge research in Cognitive Neuroscience, Neuroimaging and Neuroinformatics, being one of the groups that introduced Brain Electrical Tomography, EEG/fMRI fusion and the analysis of effective brain connectivity. CNEURO has stable working relations with more than 40 groups in the world including the US. This international collaboration of course included as a special friend China, with joint papers since the year 1992.
CNEURO’s neuromeric systems have exported by Cuba since the year 1982. This work has been supported by the creation of spin-off companies in other countries including NEURONIC S.A (for Cuba and Latin America) and IC-Neuronic which has been operating in Spain for 20 years. CNEURO´s approach, acknowledged by the General Director of WHO is that of hierarchical active screening at a population level which is cost effective and affordable even for poor countries. Thus CNERUO has established itself as a doorway for Neurotechnology in Latin America.
Last October CNEURO inaugurated its new building celebrating 45 years of existence, and 25 as a separate research institute. The new facilities include 3D plastic printing in order to provide hearing aids for all Cuba and implants production, 3D metal printing for implants, and a 3T MRI scanner. Production facilities for producing implants are being finalized with a white room with ISO standards (Appendix I). An additional facility is that of the Primate Colony for brain research.
CNEURO’s close ties with the Cuban Ministry of Health, Ministry of Higher Education and Ministry of Science and Technology. The Guidelines of the 5th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba states in point number 223 states that Cuba must:
“Increase technological sovereignty in the development of telecommunications infrastructure and promote new platforms in Neurotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics and telemedicine.”
Thus our major effort has been to organize and direct during the past 6 years the National program for Neurotechnology incorporating Universities and Health units acroos the country.
Our main allies are:
The International Center for Neurological Restoration (CIREN) has developed a comprehensive program of rehabilitation for patients with different neurological disorders. With over twenty years of experience has received nearly 20 000 patients from 80 countries. The rehabilitation system is widely known regionally and globally and their results have been published and presented at international events. On the other hand, they had more than 25 years of experience in functional surgery for Movement Disorders and could be an excellent site to test the clinical trial of PINS DBS in Cuba and probably extension to Latin America. CIREN participation is essential for the clinical evaluation of the tools developed in this research.
The Immunoassay Center of Cuba developed in the late 90’s a stereotactic frame ESTEROFLEX, which has been employed in Cuba for several years in functional surgery of Parkinson disease, dystonia and tumor resection. This frame can be other Cuban specialized product to be employed in this collaboration and potentially commercialized by PINS together with the Chinese DBS settlement, if comply with the precision international regulations in domestic and neurosurgical international markets.
The Center for Medical Biophysics developed low field MRI systems and is part of an agreement with CNEURO and Alltech.