Author: Lisa Fratt

Fighting crime in the health enterprise: Five tips for building academic-industry partnerships

shutterstock_224589463Bruce Zetter, PhD, wears quite a few hats: Pioneer. Partner. Teacher. Mentor. Charles Nowiszewski Professor of Cancer Biology in Boston Children’s Hospital’s Department of Surgery.

Now, he’s adding crime fighter to the list. “The biggest crime in the health enterprise is when the next cure for Parkinson’s disease, cancer or multiple sclerosis is left on the bench because the researcher completed the discovery phase and decided that was enough,” he says. “So the breakthrough never becomes a drug or test.”

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My work, my life: Gena Koufos, RN, MS, MBA

Gena Koufos, RN, MS, MBA, is program manager in Boston Children’s Hospital’s Innovation Acceleration Program. Her role entails designing new programs to support innovation acceleration across the institution. She offers resources and strategic guidance to cultivate and advance early stage innovators through product development and care delivery projects.

Learn more about the connection between nursing and innovation by exploring Koufos’ work and life. Click on the images and icons in the photo below to see what makes Koufos tick.

Explore the Innovation Acceleration Program at Boston Children’s.
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What we’ve been reading: Week of April 27, 2015

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Crowdfunded science is here. But is it legit science? (Wired)
More and more scientists are turning to crowdfunding to pay for research. Is it the end of science as we know it or a meaningful and realistic evolution?

The world’s top 10 most innovative companies of 2015 in robotics (Fast Company)
Medical applications are well-represented in this compendium of companies working on the world of tomorrow today.

What Uber drivers can teach health care (KevinMD.com)
Doctors can learn from enterprising and fiercely independent Uber drivers.

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What we’ve been reading: Week of March 23, 2015

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Single-Dose Cures for Malaria, Other Diseases (MIT Technology Review)
Pills that deliver a full course of treatment in one swallow could, or “super pills,” could simplify the treatment of diseases such as malaria and potentially produce cost savings that stretch into the $100 billion a year range, according to Bob Langer, PhD, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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What we’ve been reading: Week of February 16, 2015

Vector’s picks of recent pediatric healthcare, science and innovation news.

Hand of a Superhero: 3-D Printing Prosthetic Hands That Are Anything but Ordinary (The New York Times)
3D printers, it turns out, are an ideal solution for children who are missing fingers or hands. Prosthetics are rarely made for children; they tend to be too expensive, and children outgrow them far too quickly. Enter the 3D printer, which can create a D.I.Y. hand for as little as $20 to $50.

A Pancreas in a Capsule (MIT Technology Review)
Can stem cells solve the Type 1 diabetes puzzle? A handful of United States patients have had lab-grown pancreas cells, derived from human embryonic stem cells, transplanted in a human safety trial. Tech Review documents the challenges, and potential, of turning stem cells into real, functioning pancreas cells.

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Realities of relativity nudge researcher to alternate career plan

From a series profiling researchers and innovators at Boston Children’s Hospital

He’s a big thinker focused on harnessing the hyper-small. Daniel Kohane, MD, PhD, is a leading drug delivery and biomaterials researcher, leveraging nanoparticle technology and other new vehicles to make medications safer and more effective.

It’s not quite what he had in mind as a child. He dreamed of studying life forms in remote galaxies.

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But when he became aware of the constraints of relativity, he re-focused his ambitions, ultimately concentrating on innovations in drug delivery. Here’s what he told us.

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Ophthalmologist finds another way to be a rock star

From a series on researchers and innovators at Boston Children’s Hospital.

David Hunter, MD, PhD
Happy to fix things, Hunter realigns a strike plate on a balcony door. (Photo: Constance West, MD)

David G. Hunter, MD, PhD, dreamed of a career as a rock star. Instead, he became Boston Children’s Hospital’s ophthalmologist-in-chief and invented the Pediatric Vision Scanner. The device, designed for use by pediatricians, detects amblyopia or “lazy eye,” the leading cause of vision loss in children, as early as preschool age when the condition is highly correctable.

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Innovation Tank nets two winners

Daymond John, of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” and a five-judge panel of venture capitalists and physicians selected two winners in the Innovation Tank at the Boston Children’s Hospital Global Pediatric Innovation Summit + Awards. The judges awarded the fledgling companies—both of which have created products to help prevent catheter-associated infections—$12,500 each. The runner-up, Kurbo, received $5,000.

“What’s amazing about the Innovation Tank is that [the winners] don’t have to give up any of their company,” John said. The number-one reason new businesses don’t succeed is overfunding. That’s because aspiring entrepreneurs often take out substantial loans to fund their innovations.

Here’s a closer look at the three innovators who participated in the tank:

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Zeke Emanuel: 5 strategies hospitals need to survive

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Twenty percent of hospitals will close by the end of the decade, predicted bioethicist Ezekiel “Zeke” Emanuel MD, PhD, during a keynote address at the Boston Children’s Hospital Global Pediatric Innovation Summit + Awards.

How can hospitals make the cut and stay alive? The only way is to deliver high-quality, low-cost care that elicits patient allegiance, said Emanuel, a former health advisor to President Barack Obama, the chair of the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, and the author of Reinventing American Health Care.

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What can a surgeon learn from NASCAR drivers?

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At first, Peter Waters, MD, was a bit puzzled when he was asked to present at the 2014 Global Pediatric Innovation + Awards. Unlike some of his colleagues at Boston Children’s Hospital, Waters, the hospital’s orthopedic surgeon-in-chief, hadn’t developed an orthopedic widget or led groundbreaking scientific research. But his innovation could ultimately be even more important.

Waters has leveraged an unlikely partnership with the NASCAR racing team Hendrick Motorsports to inject new levels of safety and collaboration into pediatric orthopedic surgery departments across the United States.

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