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Winners of the first round of 2018 CWRU Technology and Validation Start-Up Fund Program awards announced

The Case Western Reserve University Technology and Validation Start-Up Fund Program recently announced the recipients of its first funding round of 2018.

The $500,000 grants, awarded by the Ohio Third Frontier, are managed through the Technology Transfer Office to help faculty researchers advance and commercialize their innovations. The program aims to accelerate the translation of promising technologies into the marketplace by funding validation work that will directly impact and enhance commercial viability and the ability to support a startup company.

Two additional rounds of funding are expected in 2018. The winners of the first round are Hulya Bukulmez, Dominique Durand and David Wald.

See more information about the fund.

Hulya Bukulmez, Department of Pediatrics

“Mesenchymal stem cell priming technology for treatment of lupus”

Bukulmez received the award for a media composition for priming mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) ex vivo for maximal efficacy as a therapeutic for systemic lupus erythematosus. While MSCs are now used in hundreds of clinical trials, and MSCs are known to be exquisitely sensitive to their surroundings, priming MSCs for specific indications is a largely unmet area of research and therapeutic potential.

Dominique Durand, Department of Biomedical Engineering

“Oropharynx appliance to maintain airway patency”

Durand has developed a novel, non-invasive appliance that fits in the mouth of the patients and places a thin wire directly in the oropharynx to prevent the tongue from obstructing the airways. This appliance provides a therapeutic benefit in obstructive sleep apnea and represents an alternative for continuous positive airway pressure masks and machines.

David Wald, Department of Pathology

“NK cell therapy”

Wald created a genetically modified cancer cell line that is used to expand and potentiate natural killer (NK) cells for use as therapeutics in cancers. While NK cells have been used in a number of small clinical trials, expansion and potentiation remain critical barriers for use of NK cells in larger clinical trials and on the market in general.