As Asian countries begin to adopt more western lifestyles and foods, “western” diseases are becoming more prevalent killers in Asia. Economic transition, urbanization, and technological development have brought about lifestyle changes that have increased the chances for heart disease in Asia. Developing countries are adopting a more “westernized” way of life, entering a world of new risk factors such as increased tobacco use, lack of physical activity, and unhealthy diet.
Asia’s more developed countries have been endeavoring to find different means to battle heart disease through their own research. For example, Singapore announced on December 17, 2002, that it would be the first country in Asia to conduct clinical trials for a stent coated with an anti-cancer drug. The drug, Paclitaxel, is meant to prevent the narrowing of the arterial walls after a stent is inserted to unblock an artery. Paclitaxel is the active ingredient in the cancer medication TAXOL ™ produced by Bristol-Myers Squibb (New York City, New York). Already more than 150 patients have been implanted with the drug-coated stent at Singapore’s National Heart Center and the National University Hospital.
A company that has been successful in the treatment of cardiac disease in Asia is Computer Motion, Inc. (Goleta, California). On October 7, 2002, Computer Motion, Inc. a leading developer of surgical robotic systems announced that the two leading cardiac centers in China have successfully performed cardiac procedures utilizing Endo-ACAB (Endoscopic Atraumatic Coronary Artery Bypass). The procedure, developed by Computer Motion, Inc. and the world’s leading cardiac surgeons, is performed using Computer Motion, Inc.’s AESOP® Robotic Endoscope Positioner and procedure kit.