Yinchaun Kangjie Science and Technologies Co, Ltd. presented the Fluorescence Gastric Juice Analytic System (FGJAS) as a cost effective method for early detection of stomach cancer in patients. According to statistics presented by Yinchaun Kangjie Science and Technologies Co, Ltd., the incidence of stomach cancer among people in China remains quite high as compared to stomach cancer rates in other parts of the world. The company cites the prevalence of widespread access to endoscopic and barium tests in countries like the U.S. and Japan as a key reason that stomach cancer is caught early and more effectively treated in those countries. According to the presentation, the expense of endoscopic and barium tests make them less widely available throughout China, despite a continued need to detect and treat stomach cancer more effectively.
The FGJAS system works by gather gastric juice and analyzing it for particular characteristics common to Helicobacter pylori (a bacteria that causes digestive illnesses like gastritis and peptic ulcer disease) as well as proteins in the stomach commonly associated with the existence of stomach cancer.
Through testing done by the company results averaged 83.58% sensitivity, 81.57% specificity, with a diagnostic index of 165.15. I’m not a medical expert, so I don’t pretend to know how that compares with competing detection methods. By the company’s own acknowledgement in documentation provided about the FGJAS project, it’s not suggesting the FGJAS is a substitute for other types of testing. It appears to be best used in conjunction with other methods of testing, while better than not testing at all in situations where resources for acquiring more expensive testing equipment are not available.
Based on presented information, the cost of endoscopic equipment is in the 600,000 -800,000 Yuan range, which translates to roughly US $75,000-100,000. The associated procedure is about $150-200 yuan (US $19-25). Barium testing equipment is 300,000-600,000 Yuan (US $38,000-75,000) with procedures priced in the 50-60 Yuan range. By their estimate, the Yinchaun Kangjie Science and Technologies Co, Ltd., Fluorescence Gastric Juice Analytic System costs 30,000-50,000 Yuan with a price of 50-60 Yuan per procedure. While the actual procedural costs don’t sound that high as compared with common co-pay amounts here in the U.S., salaries in China are not comparable and a single test may be as much as 10% of a patient’s annual income in many parts of China.
The company applied for U.S. patents for unique aspects of the detection system, adding intellectual property to the overall value proposition for what they are seeking to fund. According to research provided, 15 medical facilities in Ningxia are currently using the FGJAS system as part of their regular diagnosis of gastric ailments.
The key thing that makes this project interesting is its potential to help provide an essential service at a dramatically lower cost than the current available options. For developing countries around the world, that presents an opportunity for people to get treatment they weren’t previously receiving. If the test results provide accurate health care information, it may even be disruptive to existing solutions in developed nations, encouraging other small companies to develop affordable alternatives to other types of diagnosis and treatment, and potentially driving down health care costs in the same way that the Web has disrupted many traditional business practices and lowered costs in other industries. At the very least, wider adoption of this technology many mean dramatically lower incidence of chronic stomach pain. At the core, a more dramatic change will happen in dealing with chronic stomach issues when the bacterial source of chronic stomach issues is dealt with through wider availability of clean water and sanitation throughout China.