January, 2014 


Pioneering Solutions 
The MCIRCC Critical Care Grand Challenge: Sepsis 
Join us: January 23-25, 2014


The MCIRCC Critical Care Grand Challenge seeks to inspire integrated science teams to engage, develop, and deliver technological solutions to key Critical Care health problems.

The Challenge targets the most pressing problems in critical care and will reward bold solutions created by teams working together to move these solutions into the Critical Care ecosystem. First up: sepsis.


With more than a million cases each year in the U.S. and 250,000 deaths annually, sepsis poses a serious public health problem. UM Pediatric Intensivist and MCIRCC member, Timothy Cornell describes it as, "...one of the most common situations that bring both previously healthy and patients with prior diseases (i.e. Cancer) into our intensive care unit. Sepsis is either the primary issue causing critical illness or can be the result of treatment for other conditions that result in immunosuppression."


Because of the complexity, impact, and far-reaching implications of sepsis across the spectrum of critical care, the MCIRCC chose it as the focus of our first Grand Challenge. MCIRCC Director Dr. Kevin Ward notes, "If we can make something that works well for the septic patient given all its complexities, those technologies could easily translateto other settings: trauma, cardiac arrest, traumatic brain injury. It gives us the opportunity to build platform technologies and approaches."


And this is another goal of the Grand Challenge. The hope is not only to accelerate the innovative technologies developed by teams to help patients fighting sepsis in various stages, but also to make it a natural process for these integrated teams to work together to solve any kind of critical care problem. And Dr. Cornell's hope for the Grand Challenge, "...that we stimulate interactions that allow bridges to be built between two or more research teams with distinct perspectives on the challenges of diagnosing, assessing and treating sepsis. The only way we will make any meaningful progress that impact patients is by building these bridges and encouraging dialogue between these diverse investigators."


Even if a research team doesn't receive funding this time around, the learning from the Grand Challenge could give their solution the jumpstart that it needs. Dr. Ward notes, "The gift that might keep giving from the Grand Challenge is not just the technologies that come out of it and are funded, but the collaborations that result, the fact that we are able to educate people working in this area to think differently about potential projects and funding opportunities."


The MCIRCC Grand Challenge Fund will support high impact proposals at a funding level up to $100,000 per project for milestone driven research to take place over the next 18 months. Each Proposal must have a joint PI, from the University of Michigan's Medical School and the College of Engineering.



Agenda & Details


IMPACT: Exploring Aspects of Critical Care, MCIRCC Member Voices

The Lasting Aftereffects of Sepsis

Sepsis is truly an insidious condition with effects that go beyond the disease itself. The additional dangers are highlighted in a recent Wall Street Journal article, Hospitals Take On Post-ICU Syndrome, Helping Patients Recover; Especially at Risk Are Those Treated for Sepsis and Who Experience 'ICU Delirium'. Patients with sepsis are at higher risk of facing 'ICU delirium', a type of brain injury associated with prolonged treatment of the disease in a critical care setting due to heavy sedation and prolonged aid of a ventilator. Patients also contend with recurring aftereffects even while recovering at home. Some to the point of it being comparable to a bout with cancer or recovery from a heart attack or stroke.


MCIRCC member and UM Critical Care physician Theodore J. Iwashyna, MD, PhD, is quoted in the article, "We can do better at figuring out who we can help, so functional and cognitive impairments don't become permanent disabilities." Dr. Iwashyna is currently studying survivorship after critical-care illness.


The Implications of the Affordable Care Act
on Critical Care

MCIRCC member and UM Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, Colin Cooke, MD, MSc, MS, co-authored the article, Use of Intensive Care Services and Associated Hospital Mortality After Massachusetts Healthcare Reform. It was published November 25, 2013 in Critical Care Medicine. With so many Americans signing up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, many feared costly critical care admissions would increase.


The study, led by researchers from Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Cooke, at the University of Michigan Medical School, found that, "increasing the number of insured patients was not associated with higher intensive care unit (ICU) usage in Massachusetts."




Upcoming Event


Innovation Underground Networking Event


January 23, 2014 
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm 
Mash Bar (under Blue Tractor)
211 East Washington Street


Registration Required


Join your MCIRCC colleagues, leading scientists, entrepreneurs, and industry partners, for a night of exuberant networking and mingling. 


Second in a series of free informal get-togethers, we'll raise a glass, chat, share ideas, and lay the groundwork for meaningful collaborations that may lead to new and novel ways to change the face of critical care. Feel free to bring your research team along, and if you have any questions contact Janene Centurione.