Seeker Spotlight: Cleveland Clinic

Posted by Connie French on Jul 12, 2011 4:38:25 PM

Today we announced a new collaboration with the world renowned Cleveland Clinic, to advance medical and healthcare innovation.  The cornerstone of the partnership is the Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovation Pavilion, which will be home to a series of Challenges aimed at providing new advances in patient care.  Dr. Paul DiCorleto, Ph.D., Sherwin-Page Chair of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, led the initiative from the Cleveland Clinic side, bringing together a team of basic and clinical researchers with the aim of reaching outside of the traditional innovation process to uncover new ideas that could change the way the world approaches medical research.  We asked Dr. DiCorleto to give us his thoughts about the partnership and the role of open innovation in health care.

Hello Dr. DiCorleto, and thank you for speaking with us today. Can you tell us a bit about Cleveland Clinic and the mission of the Lerner Research Institute?

Cleveland Clinic is unique in that from its very beginning in 1921, the founders believed that research and education belonged with clinical care.  These elements remain in our mission statement today, and research is viewed as an integral part of patient care.  At the Lerner Research Institute, our goal is to understand the underlying causes of human diseases and to develop new treatments and cures.

Cleveland Clinic is a world renowned research institute.  Can you tell us about some of the specific innovations that have been developed since the organization’s founding?

Cleveland Clinic has enjoyed a rich history in patient-driven innovative research.  Historical results of this include the synthesis of angiotensin II (involved in high blood pressure), isolation of serotonin (involved in depression), invention of the “washing machine artificial kidney” dialysis machine, and discovery of both the first gene linked to juvenile macular degeneration and the first gene linked to familial coronary artery disease.   Many procedures also had their debut at Cleveland Clinic due to innovative research and clinical practice.  These include the first coronary angiography, the first coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG), the first minimally invasive aortic valve surgery, the first successful larynx transplant, the first percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy, the first endovascular tricuspid valve implant, the first near-total face transplant in the United States, and the first completed transvaginal nephrectomy.

Why did you decide to open your research efforts to include open innovation?

As a leading medical and research institution, finding new and better ways to advance the treatment of patients is a key to our mission.  We look to utilize the most cutting-edge tools available, and InnoCentive’s open innovation platform is one such tool that will assist us in advancing research in a fast and effective manner. We look forward to utilizing the advantages that exist with open innovation.


What do you see as the potential of this collaboration with InnoCentive?

By sharing specific Challenges with InnoCentive Solvers, we hope to expedite the process of bench to bedside research by fast tracking the discovery and innovation process.

If you had unlimited resources, in terms of money, people and time, what medical challenge would you most like to see solved?

It’s hard to narrow it down to just one.  At Cleveland Clinic, we have a very robust biomedical research program, focusing on the entire continuum of diseases, including heart disease; cancer; obesity; neurologic diseases such as Alzheimer’s, MS, and Parkinson’s; musculoskeletal disorders; diabetes; depression; macular degeneration and other eye diseases; infectious diseases; kidney disease; genetic disorders; autism; etc.  Our focus on the patient reminds us that every individual impacted by these diseases, and many others, is important.

Your initial Challenge is about repairing an injury to a ligament or tendon.  Why did you decide to start with this particular Challenge?  Is this part of a theme, or simply one example of many Challenges that you will post in a wide variety of medical disciplines?

This is only one example of the types of focused Challenges that will improve patient care.  We will select Challenges that, if solved, will quickly accelerate advances in biomedical research and/or improve the clinical practice of medicine.

If you could look back on this collaboration in five years, what would you hope to have accomplished?

Although five years is not a long timeline with respect to advancing biomedical research and patient care, we hope that in five years we will have many examples of how this collaboration produced improvements in human health.

Topics: Challenges, Seekers

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