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Challenge Cleveland Clinic: Real Time Monitoring of Steroid Metabolites and Metabolic Flux
Cleveland Clinic: Real Time Monitoring of Steroid Metabolites and Metabolic Flux
STATUS: Awarded
Active Solvers: 124
Posted: Sep 24 2014
Challenge ID: 9933486
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Understanding the different pathways by which prostate cancer cells produce the androgens that drive their growth is important for treating this disease. The development of new therapies would be aided by the ability to monitor metabolite concentrations in these pathways in real time. The Seeker hopes to find a method, which may employ engineered fluorescent proteins or other applicable techniques, to detect the various, similar metabolite molecules with high specificity, in real time and at the single cell level.

This is an Ideation Challenge with a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution.


Prostate cancer kills more than 20,000 men annually in the United States. Treating advanced prostate cancer involves inhibiting the production of the androgens that drive cell growth. There are multiple pathways that cells may employ, so the ability to monitor these various reactions is important. Real time monitoring of the metabolites in these pathways at the single cell level would lead to a deeper understanding of the processes that drive cancer growth. Because there are eight steroid molecules in the pathways, all with similar structures, detection also requires high specificity. The Seeker desires a method, which may employ engineered fluorescent proteins or other applicable techniques, to detect the various, similar metabolite molecules with high specificity, in real time, and at the single cell level. 

This is an Ideation Challenge, which has the following unique features:

  • There is a guaranteed award.  The awards will be paid to the best submission(s) as solely determined by the Seeker. The total payout will be $10,000, with at least one award being no smaller than $5,000 and no award being smaller than $1,000. 
  • Submission forwarding occurs during the Challenge.  Since submissions will be forwarded to the Seeker throughout the Challenge, please make sure you upload only a finished proposal. You can submit an updated version of your proposal only as a new submission. If you submit an updated version of your proposal, please clearly indicate the new items and/or edits compared to your previous submission. This will allow the Seeker to quickly find the new information and determine how it improves your submission. 
  • The Solvers are not required to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the Seeker. Rather, by submitting a proposal, the Solver grants to the Seeker a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license to use any information included in this proposal, including for promotional purposes.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on October 24, 2014.  Late submissions will not be considered. 

After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided


Dr Nima Sharifi is a medical oncologist and laboratory scientist at Cleveland Clinic who has spent his career trying to solve how advanced prostate cancer becomes resistant to hormonal therapy and developing new strategies to overcome treatment resistance.

What is InnoCentive?
InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.

What is an InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge?

An InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge is a broad question formulated to obtain access to new ideas, similar to a global brainstorm for producing a breakthrough idea or market survey which may include ideas for a new product line, a new commercial application for a current product, or even a viral marketing idea to recruit new customers. Ideation™ Challenge submissions are typically about two written pages, and Seekers receive a non-exclusive, perpetual license to use all submissions.

In an Ideation™ Challenge, Solvers may:

  • Submit ideas of their own
  • Submit third party information that they have the right to use and further the authority to convey that right and the right to use and develop derivative works to Seekers
  • Submit information considered in the public domain without any limitations on use

Solvers should not reveal any confidential information in their submissions. Often the Ideation™ Challenge will be followed by one or more of the other three Challenge types to further develop the ideas and gain Intellectual Property protection when the concept has been well-defined.

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