Tuesday, March 2, 2010

PRIZE Development - Where It All Begins...

When most people hear the X PRIZE moniker, it is usually in reference to a competition that has already been launched and/or won; the Ansari X PRIZE, the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, the Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, the Google Lunar X PRIZE- each has served to transcend boundaries and spur innovation across industries and around the world. However, while the novelty and fascination that surrounds these competitions is well-deserved and undeniable, none of these X PRIZES would be where they are today if it were not for one single, common denominator- the Prize Development department.

Here in Prize Development, our primary goal is to develop the neXt PRIZE competition that will capture the imagination of the public, generate innovation, and speed the development of radical breakthroughs that will serve to change the ways in which we see ourselves and how we live on this planet. Over the next couple of months, I will offer you a “behind-the-scene” glimpse into the daily life of the Prize Development team and the processes that we use to create, design, and operate the X PRIZE competitions that serve to create worldwide change.

This week, I would like to introduce you to the two types of X PRIZE competitions that the Prize Development team designs: the X PRIZE and the X CHALLENGE.

An X PRIZE is a $10 million+ award given to the first team to achieve a specific goal, set by the X PRIZE Foundation, which has the potential to benefit humanity. Rather than awarding money to honor past achievements or directly funding research, an X PRIZE incites innovation by tapping into our competitive and entrepreneurial spirits.

An X CHALLENGE, on the other hand, is a prize of up to $2.5M, awarded for solving a well-defined technical problem that has no clear path to a solution or is perceived as difficult. Unlike an X PRIZE, which seeks to stimulate or catalyze an entire market (including the social and regulatory aspects of that market), an X CHALLENGE seeks to produce a breakthrough technological or behavioral solution to a specific market need.

Both the X PRIZE and the X CHALLENGE can be developed in one of four different Prize Groups: Exploration, Energy & Environment, Education & Global Development, and Life Sciences.

The vision of the Exploration Prize Group is to expand the use of space, the ocean and other unexplored frontiers in order to improve life on Earth and extend life beyond the confines of land. We believe we can achieve these objectives by researching space and Earth’s oceans; accessing and conserving their resources; catalyzing private, non-governmental activity; and tapping into our innate wonder about the Earth, the Universe and our place within each.

Energy and Environment
The Energy and Environment Prize Group includes the development of prizes that will end our addiction to oil and stem the harmful effects of climate change. We are looking for breakthroughs in clean fuels, renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage, carbon reduction, and sustainable housing.

Education and Global Development
The X PRIZE Foundation is researching prizes structured around entrepreneurial solutions to global poverty. The focus is to find methods that catalyze profit-generating firms both in terms of financial as well as human development metrics that address major development challenges in agriculture, capital, education, health and water. The goal of these competitions would be to highlight the most scalable enterprises that create wealth and uplift the widest set of stakeholders from poverty.

Life Sciences
The Life Sciences Prize Group will focus on creating competitions that will stimulate innovative breakthroughs in molecular biology, stem cell research, bionics; organogenesis, synthetic biology, and artificial intelligence in order to improve health care and extend healthy living.

The Prize Development team is dedicated to designing new X PRIZES within each of the four Prize Groups that will focus on pushing the limits of what is currently possible and accelerating the rate of positive change. Stay tuned for the next Prize Development blog, which will explain the method to the madness of our time-tested and competitor approved Prize Design Process.

By: Taryn Williams, Executive Coordinator, Prize Development


Anonymous said...

I feel like your intentions are good but missing the point a bit. Adult or repair stem cells can create new tissue or bring necrotic tissue back to life...all within the body of the patient. There is no need for invasive surgical transplants of a laboratory grown organ.

For example, the heart...allow me to give you the briefest history of adult stem cell cardiac history.

1998 – Dr Doris Taylor takes stem cells from the thigh of a rabbit, injects them into scar tissue in the animal’s heart and repairs the damaged muscle - published in Nature Medicine.

1998-1999 – French researchers transplanted muscle cells into a human heart.

2000 – Human studies and trials using adult stem cells to regrow muscle tissue, including cardiac muscle tissue, are performed in many countries around the world.

2002 – Dr Taylor herself witnessed in Rotterdam the first patient in the world to get stem cells injected through a catheter into the wall of the heart. Encouraging results began to come in—improved ejection fractions, reduced diameters, thicker muscle tissue.

2004 – The first-ever commercial stem cell treatment center in the world starts adult stem cell treatment of hundreds of human patients. Results are amazing and include the regrowing of cardiac muscle tissue in patients, significant increases and sometimes a doubling of ejection fractions (the % volume of blood the heart can pump out per beat), etc! Stem cells are also recognized as “smart,” going to where they were needed most, creating micro-vessel bypasses around existing blockages areas, areas that previously were blocked and in areas where stents were implanted.

2005 – Advancements continue as Dr Taylor rinses rat hearts with detergent until the cells washed away and all that remained was a skeleton of tissue translucent as wax paper. She then injected the scaffold with fresh heart (stem) cells from newborn rats. Four days later, “We could see these little areas that were beginning to beat. By eight days, we could see the whole heart beating.” The experiment, reported in the journal Nature Medicine, marked the first time scientists had created a functioning heart in the lab from biological tissue.

2007 – In November 2007, James Eilert was treated via catheter using his own adult stem cells. In his own words:
In Jan 2006, when I was 34 years old I had a “widowmaker,”100 % blockage of the left ascending coronary artery. My ejection fraction (EF)was between 20 and 25 percent (55 is normal) and I was told that I had about 5 years left.
1 1/2 weeks after (treatment) I had an echo done and the completely dead apex was beating again – verrrrry weakly but it was moving.

6 months later- my sidewalls are now beating normally, my septum went from 100% damage to 30% damage. My Dr. says my heart is 50 percent more elastic than the year before adult stem cell therapy.

After 6 months – My total dead heart tissue is down to about 10 percent – and my EF is up to 50 percent!
James’ heart and health continues to improve and he pushes himself and his limits today, running regularly and biking 20 miles when he isn't working 7 days a week.

James went from Class III congestive heart failure to Class I with an ejection fraction (EF) increase from ~20-25% to his current EF of 50%. His doctors have lifted all restrictions and limitations on his physical activities. Videos of his tests and results can be found on his facebook page.
James is only one of many adult stem cell treatment success stories.

2009 – Present day. There are currently dozens of stem cell treatment centers around the world (on at least 4 continents) who are using adult stem cells to treat cardiac disease in human patients and regrow both cardiac and skeletal muscle tissue and more. The Repair Stem Cell Institute tracks all of these treatment centers and ranks their quality and protocol effectiveness.

There are also over 400,000 scholarly papers on the use of adult stem cells to treat heart disease, many studies and a number of clinical trials.

Anonymous said...

"Both the X PRIZE and the X CHALLENGE can be developed in one of four different Prize Groups: Exploration, Energy & Environment, Education & Global Development, and Life Sciences."

I sure hope that under Exploration, you include Physics and Computer Science, and that you have a few experts advising you about possible x-prizes in those areas. I'm the first person to admit that challenges like "finding a cure for X" are more worthy than advancing Physics or Computer Science, but an advance in Physics or Computer Science (i.e., invention of transistor, invention of Internet) can also transform humanity radically for the better, and might be necessary before "finding a cure for X" is possible at all!

For instance, I think an X prize for quantum computing would be a natural, because:

(1)In this CNet article, Diamandis said: "The question is, would an incentive prize bring new capital to the market, would it help them bring in new players, and allow new risk taking?"
MOST DEFINITELY, YES. Most quantum computing research currently being done is being done by academia, funded by DARPA/IARPA. More involvement by industry and private investment is sorely needed. If a quantum computing industry could be created, this would generate lots of jobs.

(2)Probably not hard to find corporate sponsors for quantum computing, as many of them would benefit directly from the technology

(3)A well defined, doable in 8 years, not too easy, not too hard, goal could be conceived by QC experts without too much trouble