UK Invention Gets Accepted to THE BRAIN RACE

Guoqiang Yu and Chong Huang
Guoqiang Yu (left) and Chong Huang are two of the four inventors who have developed glasses that can be worn during surgery to help neurosurgeons easily identify tumor margins during surgery. Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 29, 2019) — A technology from the University of Kentucky has been selected to be part of THE BRAIN RACE, a global competition to advance innovation in fighting brain tumors. The competition was started by the Center for Advancing Innovation (CAI) in partnership with The Brain Tumor Charity and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. THE BRAIN RACE gives inventors the opportunity to submit inventions that have the potential to improve the quality of life for brain tumor patients.

Guoqiang Yu, a professor in the biomedical engineering department in UK’s College of EngineeringThomas A. Pittman, co-director, Gamma Knife® Radiosurgery Center in UK HealthCare; Chong Huang, biomedical engineering research scientist; and Nick McGregor, former mechanical engineering undergraduate student, have developed glasses that can be worn during surgery to help neurosurgeons easily identify tumor margins during surgery. It is the first wearable fluorescence eye-loupe for brain tumor imaging. Yu is the lead challenge inventor for this competition.

There are an estimated 700,000 Americans living with a brain tumor, and the average survival rate for all lethal brain tumor patients is only 35%. Once doctors have detected a brain tumor exists, it’s difficult to accurately remove them.

“The goal of this innovative technology is to be a low-cost, wearable, fluorescence imaging device that can be attached to the standard surgical magnification glasses,” Yu said. “This device will help neurosurgeons easily and accurately cut out diseased tissue. This wearable ergonomic device will result in a wide range of movement and fast/easy operation to provide a novel way to image fluorescing brain tumors without a large expensive operative microscope.”

Teams have been accepted into the program and, so far, at least three teams have registered to advance this invention. The teams will go through an elevator speech phase (Phase 1), a business plan phase (Phase 2) and a startup phase (Phase 3) before participating in investor forums. The judging panel will select 10 to 15 winners from the pool of teams across all inventions to launch the path through CAI’s accelerator model to commercialize the technologies.

“The transformational inventions and extraordinarily talented teams in THE BRAIN RACE will shake the very foundation of the neuro-oncology field at large,” said Rosemarie Truman, founder and CEO of the CAI. “I couldn’t be more grateful and honored for the opportunity to work with the incredible BRAIN RACE teams; they have a deep, genuine interest in making the world dramatically better and will stop at nothing to make disproportional advancements to defeat brain tumors.”

UK’s invention shares a spot with other universities including Columbia University, Duke University, Emory University, Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, Yale University and a few others who have been selected for this year’s BRAIN RACE.

If you are interested in participating as a team member or as a team in THE BRAIN RACE, make sure to enroll by Sept. 8.

If you are a UK innovator and are working on invention that you haven’t disclosed, please fill out an invention disclosure form or contact the Office of Technology Commercialization at to discuss next steps.

The UK Office of Technology Commercialization’s mission is to advance innovation that makes a difference.

Disclosure: Yu, Pittman, Huang and McGregor are inventors of the “Loupe-based intraoperative fluorescence imaging device for the guidance of tumor resection,” International Patent Application: PCT/US2018/41418 (2018). Bioptics Technology LLC is currently collaborating with these inventors to commercialize the device and Jinghong Sun (Yu’s spouse) is the owner of Bioptics Technology LLC.