GE awards $500,000 for breast cancer innovation

Five organizations receive $100,000 each for research on and development of new approaches to breast cancer testing and treatment.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

Five organizations will be the recipients of $100,000 from General Electric as part of a challenge tasking them with developing new approaches to testing and treating breast cancer.

GE says it chose the winners of its Healthymagination Cancer Challenge from more than 500 ideas from 40 countries. The five winners "have the potential to help doctors find cancer earlier, make more accurate diagnoses and choose the best possible treatment based on each patient’s unique cancer," the company said.

"It is often challenging for early stage research to grab the attention of seed investors," chief marketing officer Beth Comstock said. "The challenge has shown us that there are a remarkable number of breakthrough ideas out there that deserve promotion, investment and incubation.”

The winners:

  • MyCancerGenome, for its personalized approach to triple negative breast cancer. (It's a "free online cancer medicine resource and decision-making tool for physicians, patients, caregivers and researchers.")
  • The University of Akron, in Ohio, for its development of new materials for breast reconstruction to transform tissue expanders and implants into cancer-fighting and healing devices. (Coatings embedded with pharmaceutical agents "help fight infection, reduce inflammation, and possibly even target and destroy stray cancer cells.")
  • Moffitt Cancer Center, in Tampa, Florida, for its work in understanding genetic "modifier" genes and their role in predisposition to the spread of cancer to other parts of the body following cancer onset. (The research "could form the basis of diagnostic testing for genes that place a patient at disproportionate risk for cancer spread and guide aggressiveness of treatment.")
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Wash. and Uganda Cancer Institute in Kampala, for their establishment of a breast cancer screening program where women can receive education about breast cancer and a clinical breast exam and breast ultrasound. (UCI will provide tissue sampling and treatment.)
  • Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, in Nashville, Tennessee, for its work demonstrating that gene expression analysis reveals at least six distinct disease subtypes for triple negative breast cancer that likely respond differently to chemotherapy. (From this, clinical trials with targeted therapy for select subtypes can be conducted.)

In addition to the money, the winners receive mentorship and access to GE researchers -- naturally, in pursuit of a potential collaboration that benefits both parties. The winners were selected by a mix of GE executives, venture capitalists and healthcare leaders.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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