Six 'disruptive' technologies funded at CMU - Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation - Carnegie Mellon University

Monday, November 4, 2013

Six 'disruptive' technologies funded at CMU

Six projects have received a total of $1.8 million as part of an unusual collaboration between a university and the region’s dominant health insurer.

The projects range from a new treatment for sickness caused by contaminated food to improvements in the accuracy of colonoscopies to a next-generation device that records electrical impulses in the heart. Each research team will receive $300,000, which is expected to lead to new ways of treating diseases, analyzing insurance claims data and eventually spinoff companies.

“It’s a paradigm shift,” said Alan Russell, director of the new Disruptive Health Technology Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, which was funded by Highmark Inc.

In June, CMU, Highmark and Allegheny Health Network announced a two-year, $11 million research initiative, which is expected to improve the quality of patient care through innovation while holding down health care costs. Monday’s announcement was the first round of grants that were intended to “invent the future” of health care.

Insurers don’t often fund medical research, especially in response to clinical needs, experts say. Highmark’s investment creates a research arm of its fledgling health care system to compete with rival UPMC’s well-oiled research engine.

UPMC ranks fifth nationwide in number of research awards from the National Institutes of Health.

Here are the funded projects through the CMU-Highmark partnership:

  • A manganese-based therapy targeting Shiga toxicosis, a food and waterborne bacteria that causes sickness and costs over $500 million a year in the U.S. alone.
  • Colonoscopy analytic tools that will provide real-time feedback to doctors, improving the quality of exams and detection of pre-cancerous polyps.
  • An analytic tool for medical claims data to identify mistakes and patterns.
  • A vest-like, next-generation heart monitor that will detect and diagnose heart problems, potentially reducing the 325,000 U.S. deaths annually from sudden cardiac death.
  • A wearable monitoring device to record motor abnormalities in people with Parkinson’s and related diseases, which will allow monitoring and recording outside the physician’s office.
  • Development of a surface coating to kill bacteria that cause hospital-acquired infections.

Article courtesy of Pittsburgh Post Gazette