A crew from a Harvard Medical School associate saw its manner absolutely to victory at remaining night time’s MIT Sloan Healthcare Innovation Prize competition, with touch lenses that deliver medicines without delay to the eye over days or even weeks.
For its novel invention, Theraoptix took domestic the yearly competition’s $25,000 grand prize, subsidized by health offerings company Optum. In overall, 8 finalist groups pitched healthcare innovations to a panel of expert judges, from Optum and numerous local venture companies, and a capability target market at the MIT Wong Auditorium in the Tang Center.
Winning a second-place prize of $2,000 become Strand Therapeutics, which is growing mRNA-based most cancers-preventing tablets. A $500 target market-preference prize changed into provided to Healthcare Hospitality Systems, growing directional sound systems for medical institution rooms.
Made from FDA-permitted substances, Theraoptix’s touch lenses deliver eye medication in a controlled, sustained launch. Sandwiched between touch lens cloth is a drug-crammed polymer movie, formed right into a tiny round strip that doesn’t intrude with the wearer’s imaginative and prescient. The sandwiching structure reasons the drugs to slowly seep from the film into the attention.
The lenses may be worn all day for up to two weeks to deal with, say, glaucoma or to the resource in restoration after surgical operation. Eye drops are the conventional remedy approach, however, they may be ineffective because the liquid drips out of the attention or patients might also stop treatment. Moreover, the lenses can efficaciously deliver drugs to the lower back of the attention to treat macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusion, and other diseases that today require in-workplace injections.
“No eye drops, no injections — simply one lens,” said crew member Lokendra Bengani, a postdoc at Schepens Eye Research Institute of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, in the course of the team’s prevailing pitch.
Theraoptix’s aim is typical to enhance patient compliance, Bengani advised MIT News after the opposition. Glaucoma, as an instance, is the main cause of blindness inside the U.S. “Yet six months into therapy, patients will forestall taking medicines. They have to take about 4 drops in step with the day, in order that they forestall,” he stated. “We’re hoping this lens can assist them to comply while not having to do anything else.”
Most of the prize cash will go in the direction of studies and improvement. Surprisingly, Bengani advised MIT News, Theraoptix got here into the opposition no longer watching for to win anything in any respect. “Honestly, we just got here for comments from the judges,” he said, giggling. “But this will absolutely assist.”
Theraoptix’s center era turned into advanced almost a decade in the past in the lab of Dr. Daniel Kohane (now at Boston Children’s Hospital), located at David H. Koch Institute Professor Robert Langer’s lab at MIT, by ophthalmologist Joseph B. Ciolino, Benjani’s mentor on the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.
Second-region winner Strand Therapeutics is growing therapeutic that mixes engineered mRNA, which relays messages for cells to create proteins, with certain immunotherapies, which cause the frame’s immune reaction to combat cancer. The concept is the mRNA will help cells produce goal most cancers-killing proteins for the duration of immunotherapy.
In the team’s pitch, Jacob Becraft, an MIT Ph.D. pupil in biological engineering, showed preclinical trial effects of the combined therapeutic, which extended survival charges of cancer patients via pair months as compared to immunotherapy by myself. Additionally, mRNA-based therapeutics are safe, smooth to deliver, and comparatively cheap to supply, in line with the crew. “With Strand Therapeutics, we consider there’s eventually a market possibility to remedy most cancers,” Becraft said.
Audience-preference winner, Healthcare Hospitality Systems, from MIT, is growing an audio device that factors a slim “beam” of sound at a listener. Outside of that beam, however, the sound is not any louder than a whisper. In a demonstration, one crew member faced a ceiling tile geared up with the device directly at the target market. Music playing through the device became honestly audible. But whilst the tile was flipped horizontally, dealing with the ground, the room went silent.
The device can be hooked up to square ceiling panels above health center beds, and join wirelessly to a television, so sufferers can watch television without stressful others. University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee, and Winchester Hospital in Massachusetts have already begun piloting the tool. (The device is a modified model of the Audio Spotlight, evolved by way of Joseph Pompei Ph.D. ’02 on the Media Lab and commercialized via his organization Holosonics.)
Other competing teams have been: Iterative Scopes, growing pc imaginative and prescient algorithms that useful resource in detecting lesions which can sign colorectal cancer at some stage in colonoscopies; SurgiBox, growing a clear enclosure that sits on pinnacle of a surgical procedure patient, creating a transportable sterile environment; Umbulizer, growing a low-price, transportable device that gives non-stop air flow in the developing world; Kinematics, developing clever shoe insoles that use sensors and actual-time facts to enable quicker and greater complete gait analysis for bodily therapists; and O2Map, growing an implantable sensor which can monitor oxygen in tumors, because low-oxygen tumors can come to be resistant to radiotherapy.
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The competition becomes organized via the scholar-run MIT Sloan Healthcare Club and turned into held as a part of the 16th annual MIT Sloan Healthcare and BioInnovations Conference, themed “Pathways to Innovation in Healthcare.” The conference, held today in the MIT Media Lab, brings together enterprise, educational, investment, and coverage leaders from the healthcare enterprise to listen to keynotes and panel discussions on today’s pressing problems and innovations. There are also palms-on workshops, hosted by way of MIT Hacking Medicine and by Solve.
Dozens of teams observe each 12 months to the opposition, while most effective 8 are decided on to pitch within the final pitch opposition. Weeks before the competition, finalist teams are presented mentorship, networking opportunities, and a one-day workshop on developing enterprise pitches. The opposition consisted of semifinal rounds, in which judges offer in addition coaching. Criteria for choosing competing groups covered figuring out the newness of the invention, its technical feasibility, any hurdles in governmental and other rules, and whether or not the team has obtained clients or made its first sale. Teams need to have as a minimum one consultant from MIT or Harvard University.
With the opposition, organizers hope to bolster the healthcare network at MIT, in neighboring Kendall Square, and throughout Boston by fostering connections among teams, judges, and local mentors and traders.
Keynote speaker changed into Alexandra Drane, a serial entrepreneur who co-based numerous fitness care startups and nonprofits within the vicinity and past, which include Archangels, Engage with Grace, and Eliza Corporation. Kyle Rand of closing 12 months’ triumphing group, Render, which is growing a digital reality platform for the elderly, turned into reachable to supply a talk that centered on the u.S.And downs of running a healthcare startup.