Innovation Day

At our last Innovation Day (which is a day of presentations for investors) talented and dedicated Tufts Medical Center investigators highlighted a few of the novel translational research projects and programs in development across our institution, innovations that exhibit excellent commercial potential.

For more information about any of these projects, please call 617-636-6182.

Click on the links bellow to view videos about research that one day soon may save or improve people’s lives:

Endoglin: A Novel Peptide for Cardiovascular Applications

Navin Kapur, MD, Investigator, Molecular Cardiology Research Institute (MCRI)

CD105 Therapeutics: Start up to exploit endoglin, a novel peptide for cardiovascular applications including heart failure, primary pulmonary hypertension, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), liver cirrhosis, and scleroderma. Membrane-associated endoglin is a co-receptor for TGFβ1 signaling and has been studied in vascular remodeling and preeclampsia. CD105 Therapeutics hypothesized that reduced endoglin expression may limit cardiac fibrosis in heart failure. The start up has now demonstrated that soluble endoglin,(sEng) limits TGFβ1 signaling and Type I collagen synthesis in cardiac fibroblasts and further shows that sEng treatment attenuates cardiac fibrosis in an in vivo model of heart failure. These results identify endoglin as a critical component of TGFβ1 signaling in the cardiac fibroblast and that targeting endoglin attenuates cardiac fibrosis, thereby providing a potentially novel therapeutic approach for individuals with heart failure and other cardiovascular applications.

Injectable, Silk-based Biomaterial Device for Preterm Birth Prevention

Michael House, MD, Investigator, Mother Infant Research Institute (MIRI)

Silk-lage™: Injectable silk-based biomaterial to strengthen cervical tissue to prevent/delay pre term birth in high risk patient populations for whom there is no existing treatment,e.g. patients with a history of preterm birth, twin gestation, short cervix, failing cerclage. Silk-lage™ strengthens tissue to prevent shortening of cervix and is anticipated to be initially regulated as a device under a Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE) path for the 4,000 high risk births and eventually expanded as an adjunct to progesterone treatment. An efficacious alternative to progesterone or cerclage would have a major impact on clinical obstetrics.

ROMPeR -- A Clinical Mobile System to Support Radiation Therapy Performance Excellence

Edward S. Sternick, PhD, Investigator; Bruce H. Curran, ME, MS, Investigator; David E. Wazer, MD, Radiation Oncologist-in-Chief, Department of Radiation Oncology

ROMPeR: Radiation Oncology & Medical Physics e-Rover (ROMPeR) Smartphone and Tablet mobile technology incorporates quality management software applications to ensure elimination of dose delivery errors for cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy. ROMPeR reduces the probability of human or data transmission errors by providing all members of the multidisciplinary treatment team with electronic pretreatment checklists and associated anatomical validation information. Remote physicians can review information in real-time for confirmation or required corrective action to validate radiation therapy prescription data prior to authorizing radiation treatment delivery. The system transfers patient-specific data from a dedicated computer server to the mobile platform by secure wireless transmission.

The NOuRISH™ Platform: Neonatal Oral-feeding Readiness in Salivary High-Throughput Diagnostics

Jill Maron, MD, MPH, Investigator, Mother Infant Research Institute (MIRI)

NOuRISH™ Platform: Aims to be the first FDA approved high-throughput neonatal salivary diagnostic panel to objectively determine when a newborn may safely and effectively feed by mouth, and to assess developmental aberrations prohibiting an infant from successfully feeding. The NOuRISH™ platform is a comprehensive multiplex RT-qPCR platform composed of genes associated with feeding behavior, hypothalamic maturation, neurodevelopment, sensory integration, oral musculature and cranial nerve development. NOuRISH™ is applicable to nearly all babies in the NICU, allowing caregivers to get a daily assessment of an infant's oral feeding readiness via a rapid and comprehensive diagnostic readout at the bedside.

Medical Device Innovation for Anesthesia: PZ Airway™

Pei-Shan Zhao, MD, Department of Anesthesiology

PZ Airway™: Best in class intubator for fiberoptic intubation during general anesthesia. Intubator is an airway which is used during fiberoptic intubation. Fiberoptic intubation is the "Gold standard" for difficult intubation since the vocal cords cannot be seen with a regular laryngoscope. Difficult intubation is often encountered when the patient's larynx is more "anterior" than normal; the patient has a large tongue, and/or redundant soft tissue in the mouth, especially at the base of the tongue. Major Problems with current intubators include (1) fixed tube which cannot push the base of the tongue up, (2) narrow canal which interferes with endotracheal tube. The advantages of PZ Airway™ include (a) movable front wall to push base of the tongue up, making exposure of vocal cords easier; (b) separate the front wall and back wall after intubation to avoid disconnecting and re-connecting the connector in the endotracheal tube.

Health Economics and Coverage Databases

Peter Neumann, ScD, Director of Center for the Evaluation of Value and Risk in Health at the Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies

Health economics and coverage databases: The Cost-effectiveness analysis registry (CEA Registry) is a comprehensive database of 3,067 cost-utility analyses on a wide variety of diseases and treatments. The database catalogues information on over 8,000 standardized cost-effectiveness ratios and more than 11,300 utility weights recorded from over 2,900 standardized studies. The registry is widely cited in the scientific and lay literature, used by leading policy makers and licensed to top tiered biopharmaceutical companies. The Medicare National Coverage Determination (NCD) Database contains the analysis of over 162 Medicare decisions use to determine factors necessary to predict Medicare National Coverage. This database is used to predict likelihood of coverage for new medical device, pharmaceutical, biotech, and diagnostic products based on past coverage decisions.

Reducing the Human and Economic Burden of Depression in the Workplace via Healthcare Services/IT Initiative

Debra Lerner, MS, PhD, Director, Program on Health, Work and Productivity, Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies

Workplace Depression Healthcare Services/IT Initiative: Reducing human and economic burden of depression in workplace by a SaaS suite including validated e-screening, counseling, information system, and analytic assessment tools. Multi-modal approach delivers proven savings in productivity and improvement in depression symptom severity. Prospective clients include insurers, exchanges, ACO's/Delivery systems, Employee Assistance programs, Behavioral Health program vendors, direct to employer distributors.

"Best-Fit Scheduling": Clinical Flow Optimization for Inpatient Laboratory and Procedure Areas

Marvin A. Konstam, MD, Director, Cardiovascular Center

Best-Fit Healthcare™: SaaS suite of hospital and patient care scheduling systems offering a "best fit" solution to sequencing patients awaiting care delivery within a particular procedure area, driving toward the most efficient use of hospital personnel and procedural resources throughout the patients' hospital stays. Patient-specific clinical inputs drive this solution, and output being a continuously adaptable best-fit solution to optimize results on the above metrics with real-time dynamic adaption, based on new information as it arrives. The core methodology will be based on assigning probabilities of procedural outcomes and modeling the impact of these various outcomes on aggregated hospital utilization and direct personnel cost. The first product is development of a system for optimizing scheduling of patients within the Adult Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory.

Development of Angiogenin Protein as a Novel Therapeutic for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Guofu Hu, PhD, Investigator,Division of Hematology Oncology

Angiogenin protein: Novel therapeutic approach with unique mechanism of action for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and other neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's Disease, supranuclear palsy, primary lateral sclerosis (PLS), or spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Angiogenin deficiencies are found in both sporadic and familial ALS; and is potentially the first disease modifying drug in ALS. Angiogenin, a naturally occurring protein capable of crossing the blood brain barrier, has proven best effect in improving motor function and most significant survival benefit in ALS animal models amongst 148 compounds previously tested. Angiogenin is eligible for orphan drug status, fast track, accelerated approval, and/or priority review.

A Novel PAR2 Pepducin for Dermatologic Applications

Athan Kuliopulos, MD, PhD, Investigator, Divison of Hematology Oncology

Novel PAR2 pepducin for dermatologic applications: "Pepducins" uniquely function by targeting the intracellular portion of the GPCR. This is a distinctive, novel approach that has rapidly yielded highly specific antagonists or agonists for more than a dozen different GPCR targets. PAR2 has been a long sought-after drug target by several large pharmaceutical companies; we have successfully identified the first potent and specific PAR2 antagonist lead compounds that demonstrate efficacy in animal models of inflammation. Development is focused on skin and subdermal inflammation /pain, targeting atopic dermatitis (AD), pruritis/ co morbidity of hepatic disease, uremia, HIV, drug induced dermatitis. The lead PAR2 program for atopic dermatitis (AD) provides a differentiated advantage of dual anti-itch and anti-inflammatory mechanism.