Calling all Canadian innovators! The Astellas Oncology C3 prize is offering $100,000 USD in grants for cutting-edge non-medical approaches to helping cancer patients.

“We’re really trying to get people who have a passion for this and have some ideas that are in the non-medical, non-treatment area,” says Michael Tremblay, president of Astellas Pharma Canada.

The contest is open to all North-Americans, and will be accepting entries April 25-Aug. 8. While it is not specified that ideas must relate to technology, Tremblay says “a lot of these areas could be enhanced by technology, that’s why we’re leaving it really, really wide open.”

The contest’s website advises innovators use these four areas as guidelines for focusing their ideas:

  • Navigation – Innovative tools, methods or processes are needed to help guide patients living with cancer and their loved ones through the healthcare system and to reduce the burden of decision-making so that patients are able to better focus on their personal health.
  • Adherence – Innovative tools, methods or processes are needed to help patients living with cancer be more successful in adhering to a treatment plan and to help increase medication compliance.
  • Care Coordination – Innovative tools, methods or processes are needed to provide clarity and ease to patients living with cancer and caregivers around improving how care is networked, coordinated and delivered.
  • Survivorship – Innovative tools, methods or processes are needed to develop support systems for patients, caregivers and others impacted by cancer as more people live longer with the disease or live longer cancer-free

This is the inaugural year of the contest, started because of a void in the area, Tremblay says. Its focus is to help patients, as well as caregivers and loved ones, through one of the most difficult challenges life has to offer. Furthermore, Tremblay hopes the challenge will spark the entrepreneurial spirit in people whilst benefiting an excellent cause.

Finalists will be notified on Aug. 15, and will be required to pitch their ideas to a group of judges at Stanford Medicine on Sept. 17. First place will receive a grant of $50,000, with second and third each receiving $25,000. For guidance on how to commercialize their ideas, winners will also be given access to the Chicago-based think tank, Matter.

Contest organizers are eager for Canadian submissions, and Tremblay says he hopes to see at least one of the grants go to a Canadian group or person.

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