For most brain tumor patients, surgery is the key stage of treatment, so it is extremely important that tumors are removed cleanly and completely. The neurosurgeons at Inselspital, Bern University Hospital already work with the best available microscope, but it is still difficult for them to distinguish the healthy surrounding brain tissue from the tumor. To drive forward the development of an even more powerful microscope, a team led by neurosurgeon Prof. Dr. med. Philippe Schucht, Head Physician at the Department of Neurosurgery at Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, has launched the project HORAO.
An ambitious scientific idea needs unconventional support
Philippe Schucht and his team are collecting donations on the „Science Booster“ channel launched last November by the Swiss crowdfunding platform wemakeit. The target is 50 000 CHF. The money will go neither to his team nor to the Department of Neurosurgery at Inselspital, Bern University Hospital. Instead, it is to provide the sharpest brains in the field with an incentive to develop such a microscope. „We are convinced that there are already experts out there who know the solution to our problem, although they may come from other fields or sectors. We simply need to make them aware of the issue, bring them together and motivate them to work on a solution,“ says Philippe Schucht, explaining his team’s objectives. Prof. Dr. med. Andreas Raabe, Director and Chief Physician of the Department of Neurosurgery at Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, supports the HORAO project as well and confirms: “Also for me, it is a new and innovative approach to find a solution to this problem outside our existing research environment.”
First crowdfunding, then crowdsourcing competition
The first step in the process is for the HORAO team to collect funds on wemakeit. If they succeed in reaching their target of 50 000 CHF, they will then launch a global competition between research and development teams. The money collected on wemakeit will be available as a prize to the winner.
A day with the HORAO team
Thursday, 3 August 2017 will see the launch of the HORAO campaign. Philippe Schucht’s team then has 45 days to collect the target total of 50 000 CHF. „We are aware that our targets are ambitious and that 50 000 Swiss francs is a lot of money. However, recent years have shown us that we need to explore new options to improve treatment for our patients,“ believes Philippe Schucht. „Those new options depend on the necessary financial resources and also on expertise from other researchers.“
Every innovation starts with an idea. The HORAO campaign could lay the foundations for safer brain tumor surgery.