Disruptive Dozen | World Medical Innovation Forum - Gene and Cell Therapy

2020 Disruptive Dozen

The “Disruptive Dozen” results from interviews of one hundred Mass General Brigham senior Harvard faculty followed by a rigorous selection process to identify the twelve mostly likely to have significant impact on gene and cell therapy in the next 18 months.

#12 | Reducing the Burden of Prior Authorizations

Marcela del Carmen, MD

CMO, Mass General Physicians Organizations; Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, HMS

A widely used administrative tool in U.S. health care, which is meant to control costs while ensuring quality, is getting a major overhaul. The tool, known as prior authorization, requires physicians to first obtain approval from insurance companies for certain treatments in order for them to be covered by patients’ insurance plans. See what could save clinicians time as well as some $450 million for the health care industry. In the below video, Marcela del Carmen, MD provides perspective on the technology.

#11 | Video Games for Stroke Patients

Ross Zafonte, DO

SVP Medical Affairs, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital; Earle P. and Ida S. Charlton Professor and Chair, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, HMS

Each year in the U.S., some 800,000 people suffer from a stroke. For those who survive, recovery often includes intensive physical and cognitive therapy to help regain functions that have been lost or impaired. But this can be a long, difficult journey that tests patients’ fortitude — and their wallets. See how clinicians are looking to help increase patient motivation and compliance as well as increase access to rehabilitation services. In the below video, Ross Zafonte, DO provides perspective on the technology.

#10 | Making Cells Larger to See Them More Clearly

Astrid Weins, MD, PhD

Associate Pathologist, Brigham Health; Assistant Professor, Pathology, Harvard Medical School 

Visualizing cells at high-resolution is a cornerstone of modern biology and medicine. For more than a century,  as scientists yearned to observe biological structures with greater power and clarity, they built more advanced microscopes. Yet today, even those sophisticated tools have limits. See how researchers are developing a innovative new approach to cell visualization.

#9 | First Disease-Modifying Therapy for Alzheimer's Disease

Dennis Selkoe, MD

Co-Director of the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases, Brigham Health; Vincent and Stella Coates Professor of Neurologic Diseases, Harvard Medical School 

The world lacks a meaningful treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive, debilitating neurodegenerative condition that affects millions across the globe. But that could change later this year, when the FDA is expected to weigh in on a novel drug that targets clumps of protein in the brain known as amyloid plaques. If approved, the drug would mark the first disease-modifying therapy for Alzheimer’s disease.

#8 | Keeping Transplant Organs Fresher for Longer

Leonardo Riella, MD, PhD

Medical Director, Vascularized Composite Tissue Transplantation, Brigham Health; Associate Physician, Harvard Medical School 

Over 120,000 people in this country are now waiting for an organ transplant. What if it were possible to increase the time that organs can be safely stored outside the body prior to transplantation? Scientists are working to drive innovation in this area in an effort to expand the pool of donor organs available for those who need them.

#7 | New Therapeutic Options for Sickle Cell Disease

David Scadden, MD

Director, Center for Regenerative Medicine, MGH; Co-Director, Harvard Stem Cell Institute; Gerald and Darlene Jordan Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School 

Millions of people worldwide suffer from sickle cell disease. While the cause of this debilitating blood disorder has been known for half a century, only two drugs are currently available to treat it. New developments are on the horizon that could help transform the management of a disease that has too often been overlooked.

#6 | Gene Therapies Transform Treatment of Rare, Devastating Diseases

Patricia Musolino, MD, PhD

Co-Director Pediatric Cerebrovascular Service, MGH; Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School 

The emergence of the first gene therapies for clinical use signaled a watershed moment in the history of medicine. This treatment modality will do ever more in the coming year for patients, especially those with rare genetic conditions.

#5 | New Tools to Help Aging Eyes and Ears

Joan Miller, MD

Chief of Ophthalmology, MEE and MGH; Ophthalmologist-in-Chief, BH; David Glendenning Cogan Professor of Ophthalmology and Chair, Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School 

Like many parts of the body, the eyes and ears can deteriorate with age, making them vulnerable to disease and loss of sensory functions. Find out how new technologies and treatments could help patients and clinicians better protect these organs from age-related decline.

#4 | Solving the Problem of Infection in Total Joint Replacements

Orhun Muratoglu, PhD

Alan Gerry Scholar, Director Harris Orthopaedics Lab, MGH; Professor, Harvard Medical School 

Total joint replacement is an increasingly common procedure. For most patients, recovery is uneventful and lasts a few months, but some experience a much more complicated and painful journey due to infection in the artificial joint. Find out how researchers are harnessing technology to help address this problem.

#3 | Digital Management of Chronic Disease

Calum MacRae, MD, PhD

Vice Chair for Scientific Innovation, Department of Medicine, BH; Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School 

Chronic diseases are a major challenge for patients and health care systems alike. In 2016, the U.S. spent over a trillion dollars caring for patients with heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other chronic conditions. Find out how technology could help improve care for these patients — and lower costs.

#2 | Harnessing Technology to Reduce Health Disparities

Thomas Sequist, MD

Chief Patient Experience and Equity Officer, PHS; Professor of Medicine and Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School 

Health is determined not just by genes, diet, and exercise, but also by the environments where people live, learn, work, and play. New technologies are emerging to help reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes.

#1 | Battling COVID-19: Maps, Technology, and AI

Rochelle Walensky, MD

Chief, Infectious Disease, MGH; Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School 

Mapping the spread of infectious diseases within communities is more important than ever as the novel coronavirus continues to sweep across the globe. Researchers are harnessing AI, technology, and advanced data analytics to map the spread of COVID-19 and identify those infected with the virus.

Register today for our free virtual event on May 11. A full day of top clinicians and expert panelists discuss AI, infectious disease and medicine.

Gene and Cell Therapy

May 19-21, 2021