The Pitt Innovation Challenge (PInCh®) is a program supported by the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and designed to generate innovative solutions to challenging health problems by mitigating risk and providing financial and administrative support to move ideas forward. The PInCh program stimulates the translation of novel problem-focused research into the community by giving researchers a venue to be creative, develop new ideas, and work with people beyond their usual sphere of collaborators. PInCh provides funding and project management to help develop high-quality health science research that serves people and communities outside of the university. In 2021, the PInCH competition looked for answers to the following: What is your bold solution to a challenging health problem?

This year’s winners that include McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty team members include:

$100,000 Winner + additional $15,000 health disparity bonus award

Description: A simplified endotracheal tube that prevents ventilator-associated pneumonia.
Team: Carl Snyderman, MD, MBA, Garrett Coyan, MD, MS, Ross Beresford, MS, Lauren Grice, Garett Craig.

NextGenET is a simplified, low-cost-disposable endotracheal tube designed to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia at its root. Our unique design uses a layer of panels that passively seal the airway, consistently outperforming current inflatable cuffs without requiring constant monitoring. While specialized tubes exist, they are simply too expensive for most hospital systems to implement consistently. NextGenET produces leak-proof seals, is affordable, and is simple for healthcare specialists to use and maintain. While our tube is currently designed to be single-use in modern US hospital ICUs, we believe it can be re-sterilization for repeated use without degrading effectiveness (as happens with current inflatable tubes) in underserved developing regions. NextGenET has the potential to substantially reduce ventilator-associated pneumonia in the ICU, saving thousands of lives and billions of dollars in the US alone.

Project and Video

Elevator Pitch Competition Awardees

Description: A novel vascular stent coating process to prevent thrombosis and perfusion.
Team: John Pacella, MD, MS, Ellen Gawalt, PhD, Jared Romeo, DO.

This project will develop a heart stent, coated with an FDA-approved drug, which will prevent blood clots from forming at the site of the stent. This will eliminate the need for a patient to take a lifetime of blood-thinning medications. This coating also can be applied to any blood-contacting surfaces to prevent clots, i.e., intravenous catheters, heart valves, and dialysis catheters.


Congratulations to all!

Illustration:  University of Pittsburgh Clinical and Translational Science Institute PInCH logo.

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The Pitt Innovation Challenge 2021: Winners

Inside UPMC

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