First Brigham Ignite Awards of the Year Announced

Blog First Brigham Ignite Awards 2023 image

The Two Projects Focus on Robotic AI-Guided Intubation and Gamma Delta T Cell Therapy for Solid Tumors


Two Brigham Ignite awards were announced today, one for novel therapies targeting solid tumors and the other for robotic AI- guided endotracheal intubation. The awards are given to Brigham and Women’s Hospital innovators for early-stage innovation acceleration projects advancing discoveries with clinical and commercial potential.

Along with supportive funding, the awards provide recipients with guidance on licensing, product development, intellectual property and commercialization so that principal investigators are able to take the first steps on the translational path. Mass General Brigham Innovation partners with Brigham Ignite to further the development pipeline of treatment options, medical devices and technology that will improve the outcomes for patients.

Both awardees have received Development grants, which offer a maximum of $200,000. (Seed grants provide a maximum funding of $50,000.)

The projects and researchers:

Autonomous Robotic Artificial Intelligence-Guided Endotracheal Intubation, William B. Gormley, MD, MPH, MBA

This project aims to develop a compact, portable, self-contained, fully autonomous robotic device capable of providing an emergency airway to patients outside of traditional clinical settings, whether on city streets or the battlefield. It will bring new resuscitation capabilities to field personnel. Currently these patients are not provided an adequate airway with the risk of tissue hypoxia and organ damage leading to poor patient outcomes. The goal of the project is to create a device that can perform field ETI when a specialized clinician is not available. This work will democratize care to patients who are not afforded the highest level ventilatory management due to lack of resources. This will be accomplished by de-risking the technology to create a device which fulfills the requirements of an autonomous ETI- a robotic device with a footprint consistent with ambulance deployment, robust enough to withstand field use, and deliver quality care to our patients.

Gamma Delta T Cell Therapy for Solid Tumors, Lydia Lynch, PhD

Adoptive cell therapy has revolutionized the treatment of many malignancies, especially in blood cancers and in children, but so far, they have been less successful in solid tumors. New strategies are required for cell therapy against solid cancers. In this project, a new cell type, innate gamma delta T cells, are investigated, and also a new expansion strategy for superior adoptive cell therapy for solid cancers. Gamma delta T cells have unique features including their ability to traffic to tissues and tumors and survive in these harsh conditions without causing graft versus host disease, making them an off-the-shelf option for all patients. The team has identified how the tumor environment can render them less useful, and therefore has developed a strategy to prevent this, making them ‘super-killers’. An additional benefit is that they can act as a universal donor; the patient’s own blood is not required. This will allow the making of gamma delta T cell therapy from young healthy donors, at reduced cost compared to current CAR-T cell therapy.

Learn more about Brigham Ignite.

About Mass General Brigham
Mass General Brigham is the nation’s largest academic research enterprise. More than 150 life science and biotechnology companies have been established in Massachusetts as a result of the more than $2 billion in government funded and privately sponsored research that Mass General Brigham attracts every year. The groundbreaking research performed at Mass General Brigham is integral to developing and commercializing life-changing therapies which sustains Massachusetts’ competitive advantage in the innovation economy.

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