5 Mass General Brigham innovation projects awarded funding

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Five Mass General Brigham innovation projects seeking to improve treatment for patients with challenging diseases were awarded funding Jan. 6 through the Boston-based health system's Innovation Discovery Grants program. 

Each project will receive $100,000. The Innovation Discovery Grants program has distributed more than $3.5 million in grants since its inception in 2014.

Below is an overview of the five innovation projects that received grants:

  1. Brain Penetrant AAV Vectors for CNS Gene Therapy: Fengfeng Bei, PhD, a principal investigator at Brigham and Women’s Hospital's neurosurgery department, is leading a project seeking to optimize adeno-associated virus gene delivery technology to strengthen its ability to treat diseases in the central nervous system.

  2. Commensal Papillomavirus Vaccine Development for Skin Cancer Therapy: Shawn Demehri, MD, PhD, a principal investigator at Massachusetts General Hospital's Center for Cancer Immunology and Cutaneous Biology Research, is leading a project to use an HPV vaccine strategy to treat squamous cell carcinoma.

  3. Harnessing Neutrophil Plasticity for the Treatment of Cancer: Tanya Mayadas, PhD, a senior scientist at Brigham and Women's Hospital's pathology department, is leading a project seeking to improve cancer treatment by activating T cells through an antigen-antibody conjugate.

  4. A Clinically Applicable AI Toolbox for Dystonia Diagnosis: Kristina Simonyan, MD, PhD, the director of laryngology research at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, is leading a project focusing on developing a machine learning model for automatic dystonia diagnosis.

  5. Addressing the Need for Early, Accurate Diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease: A New PET Radiotracer: Anna Sromek, PhD, the associate director of McLean Hospital's medicinal chemistry laboratory, is leading a project to discover a reliable biomarker or imaging technique to accurately diagnose Parkinson’s disease earlier.

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