BIOE students win big at Cozad
BioE students Michael McCarty (Class of 2013) and Eleni Antoniadou (Grad Student) each won prizes for their start-up companies at Cozad.
Transplants Without Donors's McCarty and Anoniadou won a $7,500 prize as Best Social Venture. That team invented a life-saving therapy based on the creation of artificial organs from the patients' stem cells and biomaterials.
The past decade, there has been an explosion in our understanding of stem cell therapy, our ability to manipulate tissues, and define the parameters of appropriate tissue engineered organ conditioning. This explosion has led us to exploring whether- as an alternative to conventional transplantation- we can actually build organs from scratch using stem cells, tissues, and biomaterials as well as designing the appropriate environment for their growth and preservation.
In 2009, one of the members of Transplants Without Donors, Eleni Antoniadou created, along with Claire Crowley under the supervision of Prof. Seifalian, an artificial trachea which was mimicking the properties of its real counterpart to a percentage of more than 95%. This project won the 1st Prize at the University College London competition “Translation To Clinic and Commercialization of Nanotechnology Products” and was used to save a 36-year-old patient, Andemariam Teklesenbet, who suffered from late stage tracheal cancer. This case was the first successful fully functional artificial organ transplantation in the history of medicine and the inspiration for the establishment of Transplants Without Donors.
Transplants Without Donors mission is to develop an alternative therapeutic pathway for transplantations. More importantly, from a humanitarian standpoint our supreme goal is to give an end to the elicit organ trading that rises in third world countries victimizing prisoners and even children by annihilating the need for several types of donor organs. To that end, Transplants Without Donors has formed an alliance with the Foundation of International Medical Relief of Children and the Doctors Without Borders in order to support impoverished children around the world that have been victims of the illegal organ trafficking.
The past year, Transplants Without Donors has won the Illinois Pitchfest competition, the Idea to Product(I2P) Campus Competition, I2P Regional (Midwest) Competition-Bronze Medal and the Best Social Venture Prize in the Cozad competition.
Team and collaborators:
- Eleni V. Antoniadou. Graduate student working for Prof.Hyunjoon Kong, Bioengineering Department, UIUC, Visiting As. Researcher, NASA Ames Research Center
- Michael K. McCarty. Undergraduate student working for Prof. John Rogers, Bioengineering Department, UIUC
- hanasis Detsis. Graduate Student, Technology Policy, University of Cambridge
- Iphigeneia Antoniadou. PhD, ECE- University of Sheffield, Associate Researcher, Los Alamos National Lab
- Dr. Koustas Pavlos. Fellow Surgeon in Laparoscopic Surgery, St Pierre Hospital in Brussels