On May 10, Cleveland Clinic Innovations hosted the Innovators Awards Reception to recognize and celebrate the active Cleveland Clinic inventors and successes from the past year. The event, which took place at the InterContinental Hotel, was held in conjunction with National Inventors Month.
“Evenings like these are not only to celebrate innovation, but also to strengthen relationships between innovators and Cleveland Clinic Innovations. These bonds allow for more creative, and scalable innovation,” said Pete O’Neill. “We are honored to work alongside the brightest minds in medicine.”
Brian Donley, MD, Chief of Staff of Cleveland Clinic remarked to the audience about the deep-rooted history of innovation at Cleveland Clinic and the growing need to invest in innovation as healthcare transforms. “These are the stories, and these are the individuals that enrich and sustain Cleveland Clinic’s innovative culture.”
Innovation Awards were then presented to inventors that have demonstrated great enthusiasm and put forth a formidable effort to advance care in the categories of Medical Devices, Therapeutics & Diagnostics, Health IT, and Delivery Solutions. CCI also looked into its crystal ball to identify a caregiver that has a long and remarkable innovation career ahead. The reception also honored a legend in medical innovation at Cleveland Clinic, Ed Benzel, MD.
The Innovation Award winners are below.
Outstanding Innovation in Medical Device: Jose Navia, MD, Heart & Vascular Institute
Jose Navia, MD, took percutaneous heart valve replacement to a new level in November when a Cleveland Clinic team successfully performed the world’s first implantation of a transcatheter tricuspid valve stent. Navia’s transcatheter replacement device was conceived for placement as a minimally invasive alternative to open valve repair or replacement to treat tricuspid valve regurgitation. The recipient was a 64-year-old woman with severe tricuspid regurgitation, which invariably leads to right ventricular heart failure. The patient is still faring well, and is back to being active after nearly incapacitated. This milestone made headlines all over the world. Dr. Navia’s technology is being commercialized via NaviGate Cardiac Structures, a Cleveland Clinic portfolio company.
Outstanding Innovation in Health Information Technology: Dan Cantillon, MD, Heart & Vascular Institute
With Dan Cantillon, MD, at the helm, Cleveland Clinic’s Central Monitoring Unit (CMU) is currently providing 24/7 cardiac telemetry monitoring for non-critically ill patients. The CMU’s primary goals are to improve patient safety, better utilize resources, and increase the safety of clinical alarm systems. “Part of the reason that this project is so important,” he says, “is because up to 80 percent of our alarms on telemetry were for things other than true arrhythmias and hemodynamic events. We think that the problem begins with poor patient selection - selecting low risk patients for monitoring who are not likely to have cardiac events but are very likely to generate false alarms, such as noise artifact.” Cleveland Clinic has achieved a remarkable 93 percent survival rate among patients with in-hospital cardiac arrest when the CMU provided direct notification to on-site emergency response teams. That accomplishment was outlined in a study published in JAMA last summer. In 2016, Cantillon continued to work closely with CCI to determine a suitable commercialization pathway for this groundbreaking technology.
Outstanding Innovation in Therapeutics & Diagnostics: Mohamed Naguib, MD & Joe Foss, MD, Anesthesiology Institute
Mohamed Naguib, MD, and Joe Foss, MD, of the Anesthesiology Institute are moving forward in the development of a novel compound NTRX-07 that is targeting Alzheimer's disease and chronic neuropathic pain. The compound is being commercialized through Cleveland Clinic startup NeuroTherapia. NTRX-07 has potential for treating a diverse range of diseases by binding “microglia," or central nervous system (CNS) immune cells and controlling inflammation in the CNS. After securing more than $3.5M in funding from the Cleveland Clinic and external parties in 2015 that allowed them to hit key milestones, including the expansion of production of the compound and the commencement of preclinical studies, Drs. Naguib and Foss, are currently seeking additional funding that can advance the technology into human trials.
Outstanding Innovation in Delivery Solutions: Jill Byrne, RN, Nursing Institute
Jill Byrne, RN, first conceptualized and developed a vest that could keep a surgeon cool and comfortable during procedures in 2010. After years of work developing and optimizing the “Surgical Cooling Vest” in her home for the benefit of her own surgeons, her invention has found a commercial pathway. In 2016, Byrne and CCI executed an agreement with a manufacturer to build and evaluate the vest. The evaluation was completed in April, and the novel vest continues to receive positive reviews.
Young Innovator Award: Mohamed Abazeed, MD, Taussig Cancer Institute
Mohamed Abazeed, MD, PhD, of the Taussig Cancer Institute is truly at the cutting edge of medicine. His work focuses on the identification of genetic markers in cancer patients that will steer them to the right treatment. Dr. Abazeed is also looking at modifying existing treatments to enhance their function and activity. His work is attracting serious attention from some of the biggest pharma companies in the world, and he has been an enthusiastic partner with CCI.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Ed Benzel, MD, Neurolgical Institute
The award of the evening was given to Dr. Ed Benzel for his numerous advancements in neurosurgery and concussions over his tremendous career at Cleveland Clinic. Specific technologies include advanced screw and plate designs for disc replacement surgery, and a mouthguard that measures the impact of head injuries. Portfolio companies based on his technology include AxioMed, Merlot OrthopediX, and Prevent Biometrics. Dr. Benzel was described as an innovator that selflessly strives every day to improve the way we treat patients, whether through diagnosis, surgery, or compassion. In his remarks, Benzel spoke of the importance of not only innovating at an individual level, but also to empower others to innovate.
“Innovation is not an easy thing to just pick up and do,” said Benzel. “It requires a new frame of mind that needs to be instilled in your everyday activities. Rather than get frustrated by gaps in patient care, I encourage my teams to see them as opportunities to develop a solution.”