A Big C Competition Profile: Cambridge Design Partnership


CDPCambridge Design Partnership (CDP) is a successful technology and product development consultancy with its headquarters stationed in Cambridge, England, and a US office in Palo Alto, CA. Founder Mike Cane has 30 years of experience in innovation and new product development. His first patent was filed in 1984, and since then he has developed both consumer and medical products for major companies around the world. He founded CDP in 1996, and his staff has since grown to 65 employees. Over the past 18 years, CDP has worked on over 500 projects.

CDP has two projects that have made it into the Big C Competition semi-finals. One is currently focusing on creating novel advanced optics systems that could be the key to faster and more reliable detection of cancer in biopsy samples. The Astron Clinica’s SIAScope™ medical imaging system allows doctors to reliably diagnose melanoma skin cancer without resorting to a biopsy.

The also have a project focusing on pain management using next-generation syringe drivers. The team hopes this project will improve the design for administering painkillers to cancer patients and reduce the risk for user errors. Additionally, visual product language will be used to reassure patients and operators.

ALWe caught up with Aki Laakso, a mechanical engineer and innovator at Cambridge Design Partnership:

What is CDP’s connection to the cancer community?
As a technology development company, we play an active part in the global healthcare community and seek to develop unique solutions to pressing medical issues. More specifically in the cancer community, we have developed products like the SIAScope non-invasive imaging system for diagnosing in situ melanoma without resorting to a biopsy.

What made you decide to participate in this particular competition?
We hope to run an increasing number of projects aimed at helping cancer patients and survivors, and the Big C competition is a great opportunity to develop something novel. The competition is unique in its focus on the experiences of the patients and survivors – hence feedback from the LIVESTRONG network of survivors will be key to guiding the direction of development.

How important are competitions like this to furthering innovation?
Competitions like the Big C are crucial to furthering innovation. In November, we won a Grand Challenge Explorations Grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop the next generation condom with a long-term aim of decreasing the prevalence of HIV in Africa. Competitions such as these can drive innovation where the social benefits might not translate to direct commercial gains.

What would winning The Big C mean to you?
Winning The Big C would mean that we would be able to pursue this venture without a commercialization partner for the time being. This would give us more control over the direction of concept development and mean we would be able to focus on the patients as beneficiaries.

* You can learn about all 168 semi-finalist entries at The Big C Competition website.


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