Sometimes, when you have a big goal like accelerating breast cancer detection, diagnosis & the improvement of the identification of effective therapies, you need to put forward some money to spur that innovation. We've seen this with the Bill Gates Foundation host of projects and challenges, to build a Better Toilet for the developing World, for example, and now we have seen GE join the fight through their own set of crowdsourced innovation challenges.
For $100 million, GE, along with venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Venrock, Mohr Davidow and MPM Capital, challenged the public to generate new solutions faster through collaboration, and make screening and breast cancer information more accessible worldwide. The overall goal? To improve the lives of 10 million patients across the globe by 2020.
“Our goal is to reframe the experience and empower women... Everything we have known about cancer over the last century will be eclipsed over the next five years. We know we are at a tipping point. We want to accelerate innovation.”
Lisa Kennedy, Director of Strategic Marketing at Healthymagination
Lisa, when interviewed, also stressed that this challenge was an effort to encourage the small time researchers and entreprenuers in the world to drive innovation....
GE's decision to crowdsource their project came from the company's understanding that, while GE is a large company, they don't have all the answers. "It's like the phrase, 'It takes a village,'" Kennedy said. "We wanted everyone to come together and collaborate for this cause."
The first winners of the $100 million challenge have already been announced. Of more than 500 idea submissions from 40 countries, five innovation award winners have been named. Among them are:
- MyCancerGenome, a free online cancer medicine resource and decision-making tool for doctors, patients, caregivers and researchers that provides up-to-date information on what mutations make breast cancer grow and related treatment implications.
- Creating Safer & Stronger Breast Implants with Cancer-fighting and Healing Properties, a project that focuses on developing new materials for breast reconstruction to transform tissue expanders and implants into cancer-fighting and healing devices.
- Identifying a Predisposition to Cancer Spread, which works to understand the genetic "modifier" genes and their role in predisposition to the spread of cancer to other parts of the body following cancer onset.
- Saving Lives in Developing Countries, a breast cancer screening program where women in developing countries will receive education about breast cancer, and those with symptoms will be offered clinical breast exam and ultrasounds.
- Moving to Personalized Therapy for Triple Negative Breast Cancer, a project that is designing clinical trials with targeted therapy for select subtypes which will soon be offered to patients after researchers demonstrated that gene expression analysis reveals at least six distinct disease subtypes for triple negative breast cancer that probably respond differently to chemotherapy.