Collegiate Inventors Competition
Posted on February 28, 2008 Comments (1)
A novel way to treat cancer has won the top honor at the 2007 Collegiate Inventors Competition, an annual program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation. Ian Cheong of Johns Hopkins University was announced as the grand prize winner, receiving a $25,000 prize, during a ceremony last night on the campus of the California Institute of Technology.
This year’s winners also include John Dolan of the University of California, San Francisco in the graduate category for his work on the Dolognawmeter, a device to measure the effectiveness of painkillers, and Corey Centen and Nilesh Patel of McMaster University in the undergraduate category for their work on creating a CPR assist device. The McMaster team and Dolan each received a $15,000 prize from the competition, which is sponsored by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Abbott Fund.
The Collegiate Inventors Competition has recognized and encouraged undergraduate and graduate students on their quest to change the world around them for 17 years. Entries for 2008 are due by 16 May 2008 and must be the original idea and work product of the student/advisor team, and must not have been (1) made available to the public as a commercial product or process or (2) patented or published more than 1 year prior to the date of submission to the competition. The entry submitted must be written in English.
The invention, a reduced-to-practice idea or workable model, must be the work of a student or team of students with his or her university advisor. If it is a machine, it must be operable. If it is a chemical, it must be complete with evidence of successful application of the idea. If it is a new plant, color photographs or slides must be included in the submission. If a new or original ornamental design for an article of manufacture is submitted, the entire design must be included in the application. In addition, the invention should be reproducible.
Ian Cheong, 33, arrived at Johns Hopkins University from his native Singapore prepared to focus on cancer therapy. Drugs used in cancer treatment routinely kill the healthy cells as well as the cancer cells because they are potent but nonspecific. Cheong took on the task of finding a way to make the cancer drugs more specific. He injected bacterial spores into the subject which made their way to oxygen-poor areas within cancerous tumors. Then, Cheong put a cancerfighting drug in lipid particles and injected those liposomes into a subject. The germinated bacterial spores also secrete a protein that makes liposomes fall apart when the drug-containing liposomes are in the proximity of the tumors, and the drug is released only in those specific areas. Cheong, originally educated as a lawyer, received his Ph.D. in cell and molecular medicine from Johns Hopkins and is currently working on postdoctoral research. His advisor, Bert Vogelstein, receives a $15,000 prize.
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