Neurosurgeon Prof. Dr. med. Philippe Schucht, Head Physician at the Department of Neurosurgery at Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, and his team keep their word. When the project HORAO (Greek for “seeing with the mind”) was launched in August 2017, it had already been announced that two phases for HORAO would be planned. If Phase I were to succeed with crowdfunding, then the donations collected would be used to launch Phase II: a worldwide crowdsourcing competition.
Intelligence of the masses should bring solution
In the last few months, the HORAO team have worked hard on all the necessary preparations. On the crowdsourcing platform herox.com researchers and developers have until September 2018 to take on the challenge and submit proposals for a solution to the HORAO project. A selected jury of renowned experts will judge the project submissions by the end of the year. They will nominate up to five projects and invite their innovators to present their proposed solutions to them and the public at the HORAO Conference, held in conjunction with Brainweek Bern 2019. The final decision on the winning project will only be made at this conference, and the money collected in the crowdfunding campaign will be awarded as prize money.
Rendering brain tumors more visible during surgery
Brain tumor operations are high risk. However, for most brain tumor patients, the surgical removal of the brain tumor is the crucial treatment step in the therapy, which is why it is all the more important that tumors are resected completely. Although the neurosurgeons at Inselspital, Bern University Hospital already operate with the best microscope available, it is still difficult for them to precisely distinguish the healthy surrounding brain tissue from the tumor during surgery. Although research has been conducted for some time now on how to improve the distinction between the tumor and brain tissue during surgery, it is still not successful for many tumors.
With HORAO, the Department of Neurosurgery aims to establish new paths: Instead of mapping the tumor directly, HORAO focusses on visualizing the microstructure of the tissue, the crucial difference between tumor and brain tissue. By rendering this microstructure visible, it should be possible to distinguish the erratic tumor tissue from the highly organized brain tissue during the operation, also non-invasively.
Crowdfunding as the foundation for crowdsourcing
The Department of Neurosurgery at Inselspital, Bern University Hospital is establishing new ground with HORAO. The crowdfunding campaign was a complete novelty, not only for the clinic but for Insel Gruppe. Over 200 donors supported this unconventional approach. They donated CHF 69,109 within 45 days, thereby significantly exceeding the target amount of CHF 50,000. This money can now be used for the project in the hope of one day being able to identify brain tumors even better and thus render brain tumor surgery even safer.
Teaser video about HORAO crowdsourcing: https://youtu.be/f-rIO0ynC7k
Short film presenting the HORAO problem: https://youtu.be/rVlulyBOL0c
HORAO crowdsourcing on herox.com: https://www.herox.com/HORAO
HORAO website: https://www.horao.eu