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Today’s medical science creates effective treatments for diseases and injuries by building on existing discoveries and knowledge. This incremental, improvement-focused approach is a useful means of meeting the urgent needs of patients diagnosed with life-threatening diseases. Equally important, however, is research that attempts to transform our understanding of disease. This is the tactic employed by the Biodesign Center for Innovations in Medicine. With such an unconventional approach, new ways of thinking are the focus, such as treating oncoming illness before any of the symptoms are experienced. The expertise of the center is built on a history of innovation, bringing together interdisciplinary groups to address improvements of medical diagnostics, rapid vaccine discovery and other translational science and technology development.
A current project at the center is a collaboration with the Mayo Clinic to develop a universal cancer vaccine, with support from the W. M. Keck Foundation and the U.S. Department of Defense .
Center co-directors Stephen Johnston and Neal Woodbury have also developed immunosignature technology designed for real-time monitoring of the immune system. They founded the company HealthTell, which offers a simple affordable diagnotic platform to test for and proactively manage 30 conditions, from cancers to auto-immune disease.