Determining the Course of Medical Research – Final Nominee

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 18, 2013

Today’s video and Q&A features our third and last finalist in the 2013 Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) BRIght Futures Prize competition, a research project from Bohdan Pomahac, MD, and Jeffrey Karp, PhD.

Stuck on You (Video)

Bohdan Pomahac, MD, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Jeffrey Karp, PhD, Division of Biomedical Engineering

What is your research project about?

There have been few recent medical innovations to seal tissues and prevent leaks after surgery. Physicians still use sutures, which are very time-consuming and difficult to place, as well as staples, which can cause tissue damage when inserted and removed. This can result in infection or extreme pain for patients.

Imagine an adhesive that could easily attach to tissue to rapidly seal wounds and connect tissues without severe damage. Suppose this adhesive could also deliver drugs to wounds to prevent infection or speed the process of healing and tissue regeneration. It could provide a completely new way for doctors to treat damaged tissue, including severely burned skin.

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Determining the Course of Medical Research – Second Nominee

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 17, 2013

Today’s video and Q&A features our second finalist in the 2013 Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) BRIght Futures Prize competition, a research project from Daniel Solomon, MD, MPH, and Joel Weissman, PhD.

Power to the Patient (Video)

Daniel Solomon, MD, MPH, Division of Rheumatology
Joel Weissman, PhD, Center for Surgery and Public Health

What is your research project about?

Medical breakthroughs, such as vaccines, pacemakers, and X-rays, have changed the world. None of these advances could have happened without research.

Now, imagine that promising treatments could not be adequately tested because researchers were unable to recruit enough participants for clinical trials. This scenario is not so far-fetched. In fact, nearly 80 percent of clinical trials fail to recruit enough participants in time to meet enrollment deadlines. There are currently nearly 400 active clinical trials at BWH, and some researchers will likely end up stopping their studies due to recruitment difficulties.

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Determining the Course of Medical Research – First Nominee

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 16, 2013

Today’s video and Q&A features our first finalist in the 2013 Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) BRIght Futures Prize competition, a research project from Utkan Demirci, PhD, MS.

Taking Control of Epilepsy (Video)

Utkan Demirci, PhD, MS, Division of Biomedical Engineering

What is your research project about?

Epilepsy is a medical condition that affects the brain and causes a person to have seizures. A seizure happens when nerve cells in the brain work abnormally, affecting consciousness or movement. Epilepsy affects 65 million people worldwide and 2.2 million people in the US, including about 60,000 people in Massachusetts. It is most common among the very young and the very old, although anyone can develop epilepsy at any age.

Experiencing seizures or their disabling side effects can severely limit educational achievements, employment prospects, and participation in all of life’s experiences. Seizures can even be life-threatening.

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Crowdsourcing Medical Innovation

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital November 28, 2012

Dr. Robert Green, winner of the first BRIght Futures Prize.

On November 15, 2012, the Biomedical Research Institute (BRI) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) held its first Research Day.  The day-long public celebration featured a discussion on the importance of medical research and included 150 poster presentations by leading BWH researchers on today’s hottest health topics, such as obesity, healthy aging, and personalized medicine.

But the highlight of BWH Research Day was the announcement of Dr. Robert Green as the winner of the $100,000 BRIght Futures Prize.  Just as exciting: the use of crowdsourcing, or relying on the collective wisdom of groups, to choose the winner.

Dr. Green was named the winner after nearly 6,500 people from around the world voted for the three finalists online.  Dr. Green and his research team are searching for effective and responsible ways to use DNA sequencing technology in newborns to help families understand a child’s genetic risk for developing diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer.

In addition to Dr. Green’s project, the other finalists included a project jointly led by Drs. Phil DeJager and Elizabeth Karlson, whose proposal focused on using genetics and electronic health records to treat multiple sclerosis and a project led by Dr. Robert Plenge, whose proposal focused on the use of technology to unravel the mysteries of the immune system. Read our recent blog post to learn and view more about all three projects.

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