Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is the descent of pelvic organs including the bladder, uterus and rectum due to the loss of surrounding structural supports. Recent studies reveal that women have a 12.6% risk of undergoing surgery for prolapse repair over their lifetime. Operations to treat POP include native tissue procedures which use one’s own tissues as well as repairs that are augmented with graft. The goal of POP surgical repair is to provide long-lasting improvement in pelvic organ anatomy and function while minimizing morbidity and recurrence. However, up to 6% of women who have undergone mesh-augmented repair will require reoperation at 5 years for mesh complications and approximately 10% will require reoperation for recurrent prolapse. The development of a better implant could accomplish this goal.
The Seeker is interested in a graft material the use of which will improve outcomes of POP surgical repair. This should be a biomechanically complementary material ideal for retaining or returning pelvic organ and support tissue to a higher force-bearing state. This material should also be easily implanted surgically and ideally would be bioresorbable after several months of tissue ingrowth had occurred.
This is an Ideation Challenge with a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution.
Mechanical circulatory support device cables (drivelines) are exteriorized through the skin in order to be connected to the external power supply and device controller. The drivelines are smooth surfaced or covered in velour to facilitate integration into patient skin and soft tissues. Healing of the exit site involves forming an adherent interface between the driveline surface and the patient’s tissues. Driveline trauma is an impediment to healing. This predisposes to infection, since it allows microorganisms to enter, grow along the driveline, and expand within the patient body.
The Seeker is interested in methods or techniques that eliminate or prevent the driveline dehiscence at its exit from the skin and reduce infection or issues with wound healing. The mechanical, biological, or combination of various methods/techniques for driveline fixation is expected.
The Seeker wishes to incorporate proteins or other biomolecules into an artificial cell or vesicle membrane where their interaction can be studied without the interference of native proteins / molecules, inevitable when using an actual cell. This challenge seeks ideas for how to create an artificial cell / vesicle which will closely resemble that of a native cell and will be able to survive experimentation, including storage, handling, and centrifugation, and which will also allow for incorporation of a water soluble dye which will be released into solution when the cell / vesicle is disrupted or lysed.
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.
Endothelial cell dysfunction plays a role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and pulmonary hypertension. Research in these areas hinges upon successful isolation and growth of endothelial progenitor cells (EPC). These cells may be obtained directly from diseased tissue or isolated from peripheral blood samples. To maintain maximum viability, EPC must be processed and plated within two hours of a blood draw. The challenge is to identify a method that preserves EPC and allows processing to take place the next day while maintaining the yield and viability of the cells.
This Challenge requires only a written proposal.
Chronic inflammation is a hallmark of the majority of diseases affecting humanity today, including atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease. Diagnosis often comes at a point when significant and irreversible damage has already occurred. The challenge is to identify a detection method that will allow for early diagnosis and treatment with sufficient time to adopt lifestyle changes or use agents to prevent or retard disease development.
Design a biosensor or “early warning system” that reports when a central venous catheter has started to become contaminated and / or is at risk for dangerous complications such as thrombosis (i.e., blood clot formation).
Propose a theoretical method to reconnect two fluid-bearing tissues (bladder & urethra) without using sutures.
The Seeker wishes to build a model that will predict the scale of fluid loss resulting from damage to a highly branched network of conduits. Several obvious variables such as vessel diameter are known to influence the scale of fluid loss. The Seeker wishes to incorporate less obvious factors in a model that has a high predictive accuracy. More contextual details are included in the detailed challenge description.
This Challenge is seeking a theoretical design of an “early warning” sensor for blood vessels in the path of a medical probe.
This Challenge requires only a written proposal.