Ideation Challenge: Cancer

In August 2017, Translational Innovator opened a call for ideas that could help cancer patients. With support from Conquer CancerLymphoma Research Foundation and American Society for Clinical Pathology and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, five recipients, in December 2017, were awarded $1,000 for their innovative and promising solutions.

Cancer Ideation Prize Recipients

Medication Tracking

Seraphine Wang

While being treated with chemotherapy for breast cancer, Seraphine Wang, like many patients in this situation, found it challenging to keep track of the many drugs she had been prescribed. Her simple solution: a worksheet that organizes all of the drugs and vitamins a patient is taking, including a chart of the daily schedule for taking each pill.

Post-Surgery Garment

Philippa Kibugu Decuir

Philippa Kibugu Decuir’s idea has the mastectomy patient in mind as she recovers from surgery. As this procedure requires drain tubes post-surgery, patients often struggle with concealing them. The idea behind this post-surgery garment is to hide the drain tubes firmly inside the pockets on each side of the garment. An opening in the front allows it to slip on the patient easily, and the dress is tied with Velcro strips. Allowing the dress to open in the front provides easy access to the drains, and the patient avoids the discomfort of unnecessary arm movement.

"Daily Routine" App

Tasnim Al Rashaideh

This app would allow cancer patients to record their daily habits, mood, medications, and other important notes. In addition to tracking daily habits, Tasnim Al Rashaideh’s “Daily Routine” app could provide healthcare providers with information about the daily occurrences that affect their patients’ health status, allowing patients to contact their providers quickly. An additional feature would allow patients to communicate and exchange ideas about their health with one another.

Virtual Reality Hardware

Sierra Hillmeyer

When Sierra Hillmeyer’s father-in-law was undergoing cancer treatment, he looked for ways to find enjoyment during this difficult time. Hillmeyer and her family shared some virtual reality programs with him. It would have been even better if a virtual reality program (VR) could have allowed him to become “armchair tourist” who could virtually travel to his favorite places. The gist of this idea: make VR hardware available at the hospital so that patients can spend time in their favorite places while in treatment or recovery.

Mindful Meditation

Hannah Brunelle

Hannah Brunelle’s idea is to design a meditative space that would help patients cope with the anxiety of treatment, side effects of hormone therapy, and the isolation of coping with cancer. Having this physical space available to patients in their treatment center would allow them to set aside fifteen minutes for a mindfulness meditation practice. This space would allow patients to work on deep breathing, quieting the mind, and other practices that encourage being mindful and present while facing the everyday challenges of being treated for cancer.