Waltham, Mass. – December 20, 2011 – InnoCentive, Inc., the pioneer in open innovation and crowdsourcing, and the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research, today announced a Challenge seeking novel avenues for research into hyperphagia, or unregulated appetite, common in children with Prader-Willi syndrome.
Every year, approximately 6,500 children are born with PWS, a genetic disorder of chromosome 15. Prader-Willi manifests itself in a range of physical, neurological and behavioral symptoms, though the most life-threatening of these is hyperphagia, or the feeling of constant hunger which causes children with the disorder to eat uncontrollably. This can lead to severe obesity and obesity-related health issues including diabetes and high blood pressure. In fact, this inability to regulate food consumption is so strong that it impacts many facets of daily life such as learning and social interaction. Further complicating the problem, children with Prader-Willi syndrome often feel a high level of anxiety at being unable to regulate their food consumption, and thus eat quickly and in seclusion, raising their risk of choking. Holiday celebrations, which typically revolve around food, are particularly stressful for families of children with Prader-Willi syndrome.
There is currently no cure for Prader-Willi syndrome, and most research to date has been targeted toward treating specific symptoms. For many individuals affected by the disorder, the elimination of some of the most difficult aspects of the syndrome, such as the insatiable appetite and obesity, would represent a significant improvement in quality of life and the ability to live independently.
The Foundation for Prader-Willi Research: Advancing Appetite and Satiety Research Challenge seeks a better path to understanding the underlying mechanisms of hyperphagia, toward the goal of lessening its symptoms. Because Prader-Willi syndrome is the most common genetic cause of life-threatening childhood obesity, a solution to this Challenge may be of interest to a wide population of researchers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, physicians, and others interested in childhood obesity and other related obesity issues.
“We are so excited to launch this Challenge with InnoCentive,” said Shawn Johnson, board Member of the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research. “It allows us to reach so many more people, from multiple disciplines and with different perspectives, than traditional research methods. We hope this will increase the understanding of PWS and lead to treatments our loved ones with PWS so desperately need and deserve.”
“Children with Prader-Willi syndrome face many difficult challenges,” said Dwayne Spradlin, CEO and president of InnoCentive. “Finding a solution to the problem of hyperphagia will not only bring them closer to a lifetime of independence, it may advance the research that is being done worldwide to understand and combat childhood obesity. We hope that anyone with an interest in pediatric medicine pays close attention to this Challenge.”
About The Foundation for Prader-Willi Research
The Foundation for Prader-Willi Research was established in 2003 by a small group of parents who saw the need to foster research that would help their children with Prader-Willi syndrome lead more healthy and fulfilling lives. Today, FPWR is composed of hundreds of parents, family members, researchers, and others who are interested in addressing the many issues related to PWS, including childhood obesity, developmental delay, psychiatric disorders and autism spectrum disorders. The mission of FPWR is to eliminate the challenges of Prader-Willi syndrome through the advancement of research. For more information visit: http://www.fpwr.org. High quality research will lead to more effective treatments and an eventual cure for this disorder. By working together, we intend to free our loved ones from the burden of PWS, allowing them to lead full and independent lives.
InnoCentive is the open innovation and crowdsourcing pioneer that enables organizations to solve their key problems by connecting them to diverse sources of innovation including employees, customers, partners, and the world’s largest problem solving marketplace. InnoCentive’s proven Challenge Driven Innovation methodology, community of millions of problem Solvers, and cloud-based technology platform combine to fundamentally transform the economics of innovation and R&D through rapid solution delivery and the development of sustainable open innovation programs. Leading commercial, government, and nonprofit organizations such as Booz Allen Hamilton, Eli Lilly, Life Technologies, NASA, nature.com, Popular Science, Procter & Gamble, Roche, Rockefeller Foundation, and The Economist partner with InnoCentive to solve problems and innovate faster and more cost effectively than ever before.
Avi Dines/Kristin Allaben
Schwartz MSL Boston