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Hear NCI Scientists Discuss their Discoveries - Featured Videos (L3)

August 21, 2014

Five new videos profiling NCI researchers have been added to the NCI YouTube channel:

These technologies may contain NCI inventions that are available for licensing and/or co-development collaborations. Please contact the NCI Technology Transfer Center for more information.

Breast Cancer Startup Challenge announces ten winning teams of entrepreneurs

March 6, 2014

The winners of a world-wide competition to bring emerging breast cancer research technologies to market faster were announced yesterday by the Avon Foundation for Women, in partnership with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Center for Advancing Innovation (CAI).  Avon is providing $250,000 in funding for this Challenge. The Breast Cancer Startup Challenge is comprised of ten research technologies that were judged to show great promise to advance breast cancer research. Nine of the inventions were developed at NCI and one is from an Avon Foundation-funded university lab; they include therapeutics, diagnostics, prognostics, a device, a vaccine, a delivery system and a health IT invention. Teams of business, legal, medical/scientific, engineering, computer science students and seasoned entrepreneurs evaluated these technologies to create business plans and start new companies to develop and commercialize them.

Two hundred teams expressed an interest in joining the challenge and 46 teams were accepted to compete on a range of business plan possibilities. In total, 478 people participated in the competition. Given the number of teams and people on each team, this challenge is one of the largest global university business plan challenges to date.  The 10 business plan winners and finalists include:

  • Challenge #1 - Diagnostic from Biopsies with Software Analysis, Winner - University of Cambridge; Lead Inventor - Tom Misteli, Ph.D. (NCI)
  • Challenge #2 - Immunotherapy Using Modified Self Tumor Cells, Winner - Washington University in Saint Louis; Lead Inventor - Dennis Klinman, M.D., Ph.D. (NCI)
  • Challenge #3 - Combination of Tissue Reconstruction and Recurrence Prevention, Winner - Tulane University; Lead Inventor - Karen Burg, Ph.D. (Clemson University), Finalist - Clemson University
  • Challenge #4 - Human Monoclonal Antibody Based Cancer Therapies, Winner - Stanford University; Lead Inventor - Mitchell Ho, Ph.D. (NCI)
  • Challenge #5 - Immunotherapy Using Granulysin Activated Monocytes, Winner - Northwestern University; Lead Inventor - Alan Krensky, M.D., Northwestern University (formerly of NCI)
  • Challenge #6 - Anti-cancer Toxin, Winner - Rutgers University; Lead Inventor - Nadya Tarasova, Ph.D. (NCI)
  • Challenge #7 - Versatile Delivery Method for Cancer Therapeutics, Winner - University of Cambridge; Lead Inventors - Stanislaw J. Kaczmarczyk, Ph.D. & Deb Chatterjee, Ph.D. (NCI), 
  • Finalist - Wake Forest University
  • Challenge #8 - Genomic-based Diagnostic Assay, Winner - University of California, Berkeley; Lead Inventor: Steven Libutti, M.D., FACS, Albert Einstein College of Medicine (formerly of NCI)
  • Challenge #9 - Tissue-based Diagnostic Assay, Winner - McGill University; Lead Inventor - Stephen M. Hewitt, M.D., Ph.D. (NCI)
  • Challenge #10 - Diagnostic Kit for Therapy Benefit Prediction, Winner - Tulane University; Lead Inventor - Sherry Yang, MD., Ph.D. (NCI)

“NCI has always had a strong interest in fostering young investigators and the fact that this challenge pairs each student team with entrepreneur-mentors to assist in the development of the business plans is another example of how we can bring new ideas and energy to cancer research,” said Douglas Lowy, M.D., NCI deputy director.

Winners and finalists in the Breast Cancer Startup Challenge will not only be recognized for creating a business plan and pitch, as other competitions require, but they will also be invited to launch a start-up, negotiate licensing agreements and raise seed funding to further develop these NCI and Avon Foundation grantee inventions.


The Avon Foundation for Women, the world’s largest corporate-affiliated philanthropy focused on issues that matter most to women, was founded in 1955 to improve the lives of women. Through 2013, Avon global philanthropy, led by the Avon Foundation, has donated more than $957 million in more than 50 countries for causes most important to women. Today, Avon philanthropy focuses on funding breast cancer research and access to care through the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. Visit for more information.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) leads the National Cancer Program and the NIH effort to dramatically reduce the prevalence of cancer and improve the lives of cancer patients and their families, through research into prevention and cancer biology, the development of new interventions, and the training and mentoring of new researchers. For more information about commercial co-development and collaborative research opportunities at NCI, please visit the NCI Technology Transfer Center's website at or call the NCI Technology Transfer Center Marketing Office at 240-276-5515.

The Center for Advancing Innovation (CAI) is a global public-private partnership non-profit focused on creating a virtuous circle of innovation and driving growth breakthroughs through novel, creative paradigms and models.  For more information about CAI, please visit

First Breast Cancer Startup Challenge business plan winners to be announced

February 28, 2014

WHAT:     The Center for Advancing Innovation (CAI), the Avon Foundation for Women, and National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, will announce 10 business plan winners and finalists for the first Breast Cancer Startup Challenge. Each winning team will receive a $5,000 award from the Avon Foundation for Women and CAI.

WHEN:     March 5, 2014 from 1 to 3 p.m. EST. Media availability is limited before, during and after event. Interviews with awardees and other speakers can be arranged upon request. The event can be viewed via a live webcast at

WHERE:    National Cancer Institute, Shady Grove Campus, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Room: TE406 (terrace level of East wing), Rockville, Md. 20850

WHY:         The Breast Cancer Start-up Challenge provides teams of business, legal, medical/scientific, engineering, and computer science students, as well as seasoned entrepreneurs, the opportunity to create strategic business plans and start new companies focused on developing and commercializing 10 inventions that could show benefit in breast cancer and potentially other diseases.

WHO:       National Cancer Institute: Douglas Lowy, M.D., deputy director

                  Avon Foundation for Women: Marc Hurlbert, Executive Director

                  NCI Inventors: Tom Misteli, head, Cell Biology of Genomes Group; Mitchell Ho, head, Antibody Therapy Section Investigator; others

                  The Center for Advancing Innovation: Rosemarie Truman, Founder, CEO

                  Winners: (up to 10 awardees)

Examples of three inventions for business consideration in the Challenge include:

Pairing patients with optimal breast cancer treatment: Approximately one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. The Challenge invention will potentially be used to identify specific therapies that patients will be most responsive to, saving the patient from undergoing unnecessary and costly treatments.

New treatment for triple-negative breast cancer subtype: 63,000 women are diagnosed with late stage triple-negative disease annually and 70 percent of those women will die within 5 years.  The Challenge invention will potentially be used to develop a new class of therapeutics using a naturally occurring aspect of the person's immune system, thereby allowing the body to naturally respond to the cancer.

Biodegradable breast reconstruction and cancer recurrence prevention: Up to 20 percent of women who have a breast cancer removed surgically will see the cancer recur.  The Challenge invention could be applied to reconstructing the breast with a three dimensional, biodegradable platform with anti-tumor properties that is injected directly after breast tissue removal. This new process will hopefully eliminate the need for invasive cosmetic surgery and reduce cancer recurrence.

The Breast Cancer Start-up Challenge: Update

December 20, 2013

05 Feb 2014:

The National Cancer Institute’s Technology Transfer Center, the Avon Foundation and The Center for Advancing Innovation have partnered to create a “first-of-a-kind” Breast Cancer Start-up Challenge. The Challenge is a business plan and start-up challenge among multi-disciplinary university-led teams. The finalists in the best business plan phase of the challenge will launch a start-up, compete for seed funding, and negotiate a license for the invention in the final phase of the challenge.

The primary goal of the Challenge is to stimulate the creation of start-up businesses based upon NCI and Avon Foundation grantee inventions. The Challenge features ten assets that are viewed as having commercial viability with significant public health benefit.

The Challenge is a global effort. 39 teams are participating with team members from universities from Canada, India, the Netherlands, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States. Winners of the Business Plan phase will be announced in late February 2014, and the successful start-ups will be announced Summer 2014.

Although the Challenge is no longer accepting new teams, the public can support the effort by spreading the word and following the Challenge via Facebook (, YouTube (, or Twitter (  For questions, comments, or suggestions, please contact Dr. Rose Freel or Dr. Tom Stackhouse of the NCI TTC (TTC Staff Directory).

NCI SBIR-Technology Transfer program

March 11, 2013

The National Cancer Institute's Small Business Innovation Research (NCI SBIR) Development Center and the NCI Technology Transfer Center created the NCI SBIR-Technology Transfer program in FY 2011 with the goal of incentivizing small businesses to collaborate with researchers of the NCI Intramural Research Program. An SBIR-TT contract provides funding to work under research and commercialization licenses and/or co-development research agreements to commercialize the NCI-patented technology while working closely with the NCI inventor. The inventor will assist the contractor in a collaborative manner with reagents and confidential discussions during the entire award period, and the awarded contractor will automatically be granted a royalty-free, non-exclusive license to use NIH-owned and patented background inventions within the scope and term of the award. An SBIR offeror or SBIR contractor can apply for an exclusive or non-exclusive commercialization license to make, use, and sell products or services incorporating the NIH background invention. Details of the current year's contract funding opportunities are available at

The National Cancer Institute's Small Business Innovation Research (NCI SBIR) Development Center released thirteen funding opportunities for FY2013

September 26, 2012

Included are two NCI SBIR Technology Transfer (SBIR-TT) topics based on inventions from NCI intramural researchers: Topic 317: Wound Healing Preparations Incorporating Nitric Oxide-Releasing Materials; and Topic 318: Test to Predict Effectiveness of Docetaxel Treatment for Prostate Cancer. The SBIR-TT program awards small business contracts to translate NCI-invented technology towards commercialization. Additional details on the FY2013 contract funding opportunities are available at

NIH Scientists Win 2012 Federal Laboratory Consortium Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer!

August 20, 2012

The Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) recently announced that scientists from both the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) won the prestigious FLC award for Excellence in Technology Transfer. The winners are:

  • Drs. Richard Simon (BRB,NCI) for "An Interactive Software Package for the Analysis of Microarray Data"
  • Drs. Sherry Ansher (CTEP, NCI) and David Newman (DTP, NCI) for "Development of Eribulin, a Potent Anti-Cancer Agent from a Marine Sponge"
  • Dr. Roland Martin (NINDS), Dr. Bibiana Bielekova (NINDS), Dr. Henry McFarland (NINDS), and Dr. Thomas Waldmann (NCI) for "Use of Therapeutic Antibodies as a Novel Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis"
  • Dr. Christy Ludlow (NINDS) for "Vibro-Tactile Stimulation Device and Method for Swallowing Disorders"