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City in the forefront of medical research

LOCAL medical experts are developing new cures and therapies with national funding. The Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat Hospital of Fudan University recently won a national research project to study genetic causes for deafness and its early prevention. Deafness is the most common disability which affects the life of more than 20 million Chinese, over 800,000 of them children under seven years old. "The project is to identify more genes and mechanism resulting in deafness and develop effective therapies," said Dr Li Huawei, the lead scientist in the project. "The current treatment for deafness is giving patients hearing aid devices or artificial cochlea, which is too expensive to be widely adopted." The goal of the project is to transplant patient stem cells and develop them into hearing cells to repair damaged hearing. In addition to deafness research, doctors at the Shanghai Children's Medical Center are pioneers in applying minimally invasive surgery to children, leaving no scar and causing less pain. "In a single-keyhole-access surgery, all surgical instruments enter the body through a tiny hole in the patient's navel," explained Dr Chen Qimin from the hospital's surgical department. "This method is an improvement on the traditional laparoscopic surgery which leaves three small holes. It leaves no scar and the patient can recover faster and better," Chen said.


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