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Solving the Unsolvable: $1M Challenge to End IPF

October 10, 2017 @ 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Or, less formally, IPF. Chances are, you’ve never heard of it, even though it kills the same number of people as breast cancer.

IPF is a chronic, progressive, irreversible, unpredictable and incurable disease. It starts with scarring of the lungs that prohibits patients from properly moving oxygen into the bloodstream. Eventually there is not enough oxygen in the blood – not enough to breathe. The experience has been compared to trying to breathe through a coffee stirrer.
Patients are often diagnosed years too late, as it is a confusing diagnosis made by process of elimination. It takes, on average, 26 months for a patient to hear “you have IPF.” This delay leads to significant patient harm – in time and frustration, but more importantly quality of life as they are treated for the wrong conditions. When finally diagnosed, many patients are beyond the point of help. Sadly, 50% of patients die within two years of finally being diagnosed, and 80% die within five years.

IPF does not just affect the lungs. It affects patients and their families physically, cognitively, emotionally, and financially. If there were more patient-centered products and services available for this population, we could change that story.

That’s why Three Lakes Partners – together with MATTER, IDEO, and Common Pool – launched one of the largest healthcare competitions ever, the $1M IPF Catalyst Challenge. This Challenge is also the first time a cash and incentive purse of this magnitude has been put in place to help people with IPF.

So where can you – the innovators, entrepreneurs, statisticians, engineers, researchers, advocates – take action?
On October 10, join us to learn more about how we are forging a new vision for IPF, one that gathers the best minds in and outside the field to develop new solutions to solve this horrible disease. Then, learn how your BIG IDEA to improve the quality of life for IPF patients and caregivers, might help you win part of our $1 million purse.

Event Agenda:
5:30pm: Check-in and networking
6:00pm: Welcome & Introduction by Elizabeth Estes, Three Lakes Partners
6:20pm IPF Quality of Life Challenges & IPF Catalyst Challenge Overview
6:45pm Networking
Collaboration is at the heart of this mission and is our engine. We want problems solvers, innovative thinkers and people with a passion for solving tough problems. Together, let’s breathe new life into IPF.

About the $1M IPF Catalyst Challenge
The IPF Catalyst Challenge will award a total purse of $1,000,000 for the development of big ideas that improve the quality of life for IPF patients. The Challenge is open to nonprofit agencies and for-profit ventures, but you may also participate as part of a collaboration between organizations. We welcome teams with public partners, but we prefer that government entities are not the primary organization on the application.

Your team will be asked to explain a problem and a solution related to a specific need of IPF patients. The IPF Catalyst Challenge is designed to invite a broad range of big ideas to the table, and you may choose to focus your submission on one of the categories below.

Early Diagnosis & Detection – It takes an average of 26 months to be diagnosed with IPF. Early detection could create a smoother path to care as patients will no longer lose valuable time dealing with misdiagnoses. If diagnosed sooner, patients may increase their odds of slowing the progression of IPF.

Patient Education & Engagement – After a confirmed diagnosis, the patient often experiences difficult emotional and physical adjustments, preventing constructive planning and preparation for the future. With more practical and direct information about IPF, patients can know what to ask and feel more empowered over their disease.

Oxygen Improvement – Oxygen support is a crucial component of treatment and current practices involve clinical visits every 3-6 months, along with prescribed oxygen. The disease is often unpredictable and a smarter oxygen therapy system with real time data could help both the patient and the clinician have better access to information, allowing for more responsive care. Oxygen is also a physical burden, creating a sedentary and homebound life for many of these patients.

Improving the Care Continuum – As the disease progresses, improving quality of life in the advanced stages is vital. The patient will eventually experience exacerbations, leading to higher oxygen needs, a decline in physical abilities, and an increase in anxiety. With more advanced oxygen products and more human services, patients can have a more comfortable and meaningful experience in the late stage of IPF.

Other – This category is for any ideas that may not fall into the above categories, but that you strongly feel could positively impact the quality of life for patients and caregivers.
The IPF Catalyst Challenge is open to nonprofit agencies and for-profit ventures, and is designed to invite a broad range of big ideas to the table. Registrations will be accepted at the Challenge’s website now through Wednesday, October 25 at 5:00 pm CT, and participant applications are due no later than Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 5:00 pm CT. Finalists will be announced in early December and will have the opportunity to pitch their solutions to a Selection Committee during a live event in January 2018.


Cambridge Innovation Center
One Broadway, 5th Floor, Havana Room
Cambridge ,MA02142US
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