Lyfebulb and Helsinn Announce Finalists for the 2019 Innovation Summit in Oncology

Ten finalists have been chosen for the second annual Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Summit & Awards in Oncology  

GlobeNewswire – New York, NY – February 27, 2019

  • The Award recognizes Patient Entrepreneurs’ innovations for cancer and cancer supportive care using therapeutics, diagnostics, medical devices or healthcare IT tools 

MONACO, PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO and NEW YORK, NY, FEBRUARY 27 2019:  

Lyfebulb, a patient empowerment platform that connects patients, industry and investors to support user-driven innovation toward solutions in chronic disease, and Helsinn, a Swiss pharmaceutical group focused on building quality cancer care, today announce the names of the ten Patient Entrepreneurs chosen as finalists for the Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Summit & Awards in Oncology. 

The following inspirational finalists will compete at the Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Summit, on March 18 and 19, 2019, for two $25,000 grants: 

  • Karl Blohm, PhD of SafeHeal SAS 
  • Matt De Silva of Notable Labs 
  • Carlos Garcia of Welwaze Medical Inc. 
  • Philippe Halfon MD, PhD, PharmD of Genoscience Pharma 
  • David Hysong of Shepherd Therapeutics 
  • Pierluigi Paracchi of Genenta Science 
  • Florence Séjourné of Da Volterra  
  • Mihir Shah of UE LifeSciences Inc. 
  • Ira Spector, PhD of SFA Therapeutics Inc. 
  • Maria Zannes of bioAffinity Technologies  

The Awards will recognize outstanding Patient Entrepreneurs building groundbreaking companies to advance the prevention, diagnosis, management or care of cancer patients. The finalists represent companies that have been founded by cancer patients, cancer survivors or those with loved ones affected by cancer. A “pitch session” will be held at the summit, where a jury of experts will select the ultimate winners. 

“At Lyfebulb, we believe individuals living with a chronic disease have not only unique insights, but also solutions to address needs they identify in their daily lives. We thank and salute each and every Patient Entrepreneur who applied to our Challenge, and we look forward to the highly collaborative two days we will spend with our teams, jury and finalists, who each bring their unique strategy to reducing the burden of living with cancer, said Dr. Karin Hehenberger, CEO and Founder of Lyfebulb. 

Riccardo Braglia, Helsinn Group Vice Chairman and CEO, added, So many of us are affected by cancer, and bringing new and advanced solutions to the marketplace is at the heart of what the Helsinn Group does. Helsinn and the Helsinn Investment Fund are  committed to positively impacting the patient community by mentoring, partnering, investing in or connecting these innovators as they pursue their entrepreneurial journey and we are delighted to be working with Lyfebulb on this summit and awards for a second year. 

About Lyfebulb 

Lyfebulb is a chronic diseasefocused, patient empowerment platform that connects patients, industry (manufacturers and payers) and investors to support user-driven innovation. Lyfebulb promotes a healthy, take-charge lifestyle for those affected by chronic disease. Grounded with its strong foundation in diabetes, the company has expanded disease states covered into cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis. 

See www.lyfebulb.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Lyfebulb LinkedIn, and Karin Hehenberger LinkedIn.  

About Helsinn International Services sarl 

Helsinn International Services sarl is the Helsinn subsidiary which provides a range of advisory services and strategic activities to the Group and its specific companies. In particular, it acts as the advisory company to Helsinn Investment Fund.   

 About Helsinn Investment Fund S.A., SICAR 

The Helsinn Investment Fund is focused on early-stage investments in areas of high unmet patient need. Backed by the Helsinn Group, and guided by Helsinn’s core values of quality, integrity and respect, Helsinn Investment Fund aims to help companies with innovative technologies to transform new ideas into commercial solutions with the potential to impact health-related quality of life of patients 

Drawing on Helsinn’s over 40 years of investment into research and development and commercial expertise, the investment fund selects companies with technologies in a range of areas including cancer therapeutics and diagnostics, cancer supportive care, metabolic and gastrointestinal disorders, and dermatology conditions.  

For more information, visit www.helsinninvestmentfund.com 

About  the  Helsinn  Group 

Helsinn is a privately owned pharmaceutical group with an extensive portfolio of marketed cancer care products and a robust drug development pipeline. Since 1976, Helsinn has been improving the everyday lives of patients, guided by core family values of respect, integrity and quality. The Group works across pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices and nutritional supplements and has expertise in research, development, manufacture and the commercialization of therapeutic and supportive care products for cancer, pain and inflammation and gastroenterology. In 2016, Helsinn created the Helsinn Investment Fund to support early-stage investment opportunities in areas of unmet patient need. The company is headquartered in Lugano, Switzerland, with operating subsidiaries in Switzerland, Ireland, the U.S., Monaco and China, as well as a product presence in approximately 190 countries globally. 

To learn more about Helsinn Group please visit  www.helsinn.com 

For  more  information: 
Helsinn  Group  Media  Contact 
Paola  Bonvicini 
Group Head  of  Communication 
Lugano,  Switzerland 
Tel: +41 (0) 91 985 21 21 
Info-hhc@helsinn.com 
For more information, please follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn  and  Vimeo

Press Contact for Lyfebulb 
Karin Hehenberger, MD, PhD 
CEO & Founder, Lyfebulb,  
Phone: + 00 1 917-575-0210  
Email: karin@lyfebulb.com 
HELS-US-0031 

10 Items You Should Take With You To Chemo

Repost from:  CrazyPerfectLife.com

By: Dara Kurtz

Going through chemotherapy can be challenging. Trust me, I speak from experience. Here are 10 items I wish someone had told me to bring when I went for chemotherapy. It would have made the experience easier for me.

10 Items You Should Take With You To Chemo:

1. A good attitude – You don’t want to be in this situation, but here’s the thing, you are. You need to have a good attitude. I know it’s hard, but try.

2. Layers of comfy clothing – The room will probably be very cold, kind of like an airplane (Maybe you could pretend you’re on an airplane going somewhere fun? Think of the chemotherapy chair like sitting in first class.). Even if it’s summer time, make sure you bring a sweater or jacket. The chemo can change your body temperature, so being able to shed a layer or put one on is helpful. Warm blankets will be offered and I highly recommend getting one, or many.

3. Warm socks – I always took my shoes off, snuggled under the warm blankets the hospital provided and put on cozy socks. Wear shoes you can slide into easily in case you have to go to the bathroom, which you will probably need to do. During chemo, a ton of liquids are pumped into your body and they’re going to have to come out eventually.

4. Something to keep you busy – Take your journal, knitting, crocheting, adult coloring books, crossword puzzles, reading material or whatever else inspires you or holds your  attention. The key is to try to distract yourself. Do not focus on any of the side effects. The nurses will watch you closely, and should you have a reaction, which probably won’t happen, they’ll know exactly what to do. If you start to feel strange or something seems off, don’t hesitate to tell your nurse, but don’t sit in the chair and worry.

5. Chapstick – Or something to put on your lips.

Take items to chemo to help you relax.

6. Snacks – Bring snacks such as crackers, bananas, sliced apples, applesauce, healthy muffins or breads. Don’t eat anything rich or bring foods with a strong smell. I also wouldn’t recommend foods that are too sugary. Don’t let your stomach get empty but don’t eat too much either. It’s kind of like being pregnant. Except it’s not. Peanut butter crackers became my best friend.

 

7. Technology – It’s nice to have earphones and your device so you can listen to music or podcasts or even watch a movie. Ask about Wi-Fi before you start chemo. You might not have access.

8. Something to drink – Take a large cup with either water or hot tea. I always took a large Swell bottle with my favorite tea. This worked great because it would stay warm during my entire treatment. I was usually cold, and having a warm drink was soothing. While your hospital will probably offer water and other drinks, it’s nice to have a large cup so you don’t have to keep getting refills. Make sure you drink a lot, even if you aren’t thirsty.

9. Mints – Or hard candy, especially peppermint.

10. Make sure you can see – Don’t forget your glasses. If you wear contacts, you might want to take them out if you get tired (you will get tired) and want to sleep (you will want to sleep). Your glasses will enable you to see when you wake up from your nap. If, or should I say when, the drugs they administer to manage the side effects of chemo make you feel sleepy, don’t fight it. Let yourself sleep. The time will pass by faster.

 

Poached Pears With Whipped Cream Recipe

POACHED PEARS WITH WHIPPED CREAM

poached pear

An original recipe  from Lyfebulb CEO Dr. Karin Hehenberger, MD, PhD

Interested in more delicious auto-immune diet friendly recipes! Click the link  to learn more about “The Everything You Need to Know About Diabetes Cookbook: Expert advice, plus 70 recipes complete with nutritional breakdowns.”
Pears are delicious, particularly in the fall and winter, and can easily be found in most food markets. This dessert is healthy and looks so yummy.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups (350 ml) red wine
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon stevia
1/2 vanilla bean(pod) split in half lengthwise and seeds scraped out or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cinnamon stick
5 cloves
1 orange, quartered
4 small ripe pears, peeled
Scant 1/2 cup (100ml)
whipping cream,
whipped, to serve
Serves 4

Instructions

1. In a saucepan large enough to hold the pears snugly, pour in the wine and lemon juice, then add the stevia, vanilla seeds or extract, cinnamon, and cloves, Squeeze the juice from the orange quarts into the saucepan, then add one of the squeezed orange quarters to the saucepan and discard the remainder. Finally, add the pears.
2. Set the saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes, turning the pears occasionally, until they’re easily pierced with the tip of a knife. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to individual plates.
3. Pour the poaching liquid through a strainer set over a bowl and discard the orange quarter and spices.  Return the poaching liquid to the saucepan, bring to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the poaching liquid is syrupy and reduced by two-thirds.  Let cool a little( you don’t want the syrup to melt the whipped cream).
4. Spoon the syrup over the pears and serve with the whipped cream.
Per serving: 239 kcals, 10.3 g fat (6.3 g saturates), 16.9 g carbohydrate (16.7 sugars), 1.3 G protein, 3.6 g fiber, trace salt

Enjoy!

Inside the Patient Entrepreneur’s Mind: Gitte Pedersen

 

What motivated you to create a business addressing a disease you know so well?

My parents got diagnosed with lung cancer and I knew if we followed standard of care they were facing an evidenced based death. Understanding genomics and cancer made my brother and I believe that there were better options looking into clinical trials for eg immune therapies. The question became which trial and due to the 1000 of trials available it was overwhelming. We also understood that cancer is a very heterogeneous diseases thus we needed a tool that could identify the unique features in the tumor that could be interrogated by drugs either approved or in development. We developed that tool, and named it OneRNA™ unfortunately not in time for our parents to benefit from it, however we have 2 newly diagnosed cancer patients in the family so the next generation is benefitting.

 

What are some of the hurdles you perceive exist for people with your disease?

It is overwhelming and difficult to navigate various treatment options without an effective tool which can reduce the number of options to something more manageable e.g. OneRNA™ typically identifies 5 already approved drugs and shortlist 30 clinical trials. By combining various liquid biopsy strategies after treatment selection it is now possible to quickly find out of you benefit from a treatment and with more than 1 option and the potential of combining drugs e.g. a tumor antigen with a checkpoint inhibitor, the treatment can be completely personalized to the patient.

 

Who are some of your role models in your space?

I believe that Foundation Medicine is a 1.0 version of this idea. I also believe that Genomic Health is a 0.5 version demonstrating the utility of RNA in treatment selection in breast cancer more specifically avoiding chemo when its not necessary. OneRNA™ is a 2.0 version c combining those strategies into one product.

 

What is your goal beyond creating a successful business?

The “standard of care” paradigm must change in oncology to a completely “personalized  treatment” paradigm, and my personal goal is to provide THE platfrom that enables this shift. We will not cure cancer by continuing developing drugs that only work in 20% of the patients and subjecting the other 80% to harsh and sometimes deadly side effects with no benefits, to me that is barbaric and unnecessary. My ultimate bottom line is make cancer a chronic manageable disease that you survive by choosing the right treatment.

 

What does being a patient entrepreneur mean to you?

It means that you are personally invested in the success of your technology in solving a significant medical problem. It also means that you are not going to give up even facing significant hurdles such as a payer system that in general overpay for drugs and under pay for diagnostics. We are innovating outside the lab in how we address those hurdles developing novel business models.

 

How do you stay healthy and motivated to deliver?

I read an amazing amount of literature every week and I am very knowledgeable about how to eat healthy and live healthy. I done that for my whole life. My parents did not have that knowledge and they made some very poor decisions early in their lives (smoking). Their life was shortened and more importantly the quality of life in their last decade was reduced because of those choices. I saw their decline and I made a conscious decision to live a healthy and long life: I exercise every day. I am a true believer in data and love my Apple health app. I also love Chronometer to monitor the quality of my food intake. You can’t cheat when the data is there.

 

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?

I was fortunate to have a great mentor while working for Novo Nordisk. He encouraged me to read “A road less travelled”, in short enjoy the trip rather than focus on the arrival. I believe my parents instilled in me a great sense of purpose and the belief that I could accomplish what I wanted. They both played a very significant role. I have great investors that I get feedback from on a regular basis, same situation with by board in addition to a mentor who works with the North Shore InnoVenture – our incubator. The latter is a great independant voice.

 

How can we draw more attention to user-driven innovation?

Create personal success stories and get media coverage. That is already part of our media plan. The problem does get more real than when its your problem.

 

How do you maintain work/life balance?

I had days where I worked for 24 hrs (not healthy) but I did it because it was important for me to wake up with my kids in the morning. I sign out after 6 pm most days. If I need to go back its after my family goes to bed. I also work early in the day in the weekends and I stop when the family wakes up. I love my family, my time with them is very precious.

 

What is your favorite song that gets you motivated?

Nina Simone, Feeling Good

 

What are some of your favorite social activities?

I love cooking and eating dinner with friends and my family. I also love traveling, skiing and surfing with friends and family.

What three things would you take if stranded on an island?

My iPhone  with solar charger, a bikini and sun screen

 

Personal/Company Twitter handle: @dnabarcode

Lyfestories: Jen Hodson’s Journey with Breast Cancer

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, the scariest word in the room was “chemotherapy”.  Naïve to what active treatment would actually be like, I foolishly assumed that once I completed it, I would be on to a whole new adventure.  Wow, was I wrong. I finished big chemo in April 2017 (coming up on one year!) and my Herceptin infusions in December 2017. I’ve been out of active treatment for three months and things have never been scarier.

It wasn’t chemotherapy I should have been fearful of, I should have balked at “post treatment” instead. With chemo and targeted therapy, I was actively doing something against cancer, and now I’m simply existing.  Or that’s how it feels. My follow-up appointments are dwindling, my side effects are plateauing, my survivorship care plan has been queued up. So why am I feeling so utterly depressed instead of ecstatic?!

Turns out, this is more common than I thought.  After discussing with several others I’ve met online or in support groups, they all agreed that “post cancer” life can be quite brutal on the mind.  Not only for the aforementioned reasons, but because we’re left with the fallout from the fight. We’re putting together pieces we didn’t realize had broken. Depression, anxiety, PTSD, lifestyle changes, relationship changes, returning to “normalcy”, being sick but not looking sick, these are just some of the aspects of my life that came rushing to greet me as I closed the door on active treatment.

And I was not prepared to greet them.  Perhaps I’m still not, but I’m learning everyday how to equip myself with the tools to make it through this challenging time.  I’ve started to carve out 10 minutes everyday to sit and reflect, or to meditate, so that I can turn everything off and see what surprising thoughts come creeping out of the woodwork.  After more than a year of cancer running the show, I’ve learned that I still desperately want to learn sign language. Now I have a new goal to focus on. No seriously, I got that from sitting on my bed and listening to my Headspace app for 10 minutes.  It works wonders.

I’ve started to run again, and I even have a few races under my belt.  I’ve signed up for the Chicago Marathon in October 2018 and each day I can push my body and lungs to the limit, is a day I am thankful for. It’s an outlet for all the things I can’t control, I am quite literally running away from them.  And on the days that are the darkest, I’ll try and stroll around the park for a few minutes, just to be outside. A change of scenery always seems to help.

Most importantly however, I’ve started seeing a therapist.  This is the most important tool I’ve found during this tumultuous period.  There is so much to take in after treatment, there are so many questions that float around my head daily.  Should I become a vegan? How can I prevent a recurrence? Why do I feel guilty about surviving? About having fun? Journaling and reporting to my therapist keeps me grounded.  And it allows me an outlet to explore this new phase with a safety net. I’m happy to have it.

If you’re reading this, and find yourself in the same position, please reach out to your medical team for help.  I was surprised by the resources they provided me when I admitted that I was struggling. And if you’d like to chat more with me about it, you can find me on Instagram @jenhods or at my website www.rogueboob.com (if you’re not in the same position, that is amazing, but I hope you’ll still come say hi).  For everyone on this journey, just remember to put one foot in front of the other.

 

Eleven finalists have been chosen for the first ever Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Summit & Award in Oncology

Eleven finalists have been chosen for the first ever Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Summit & Award in Oncology

 

  • Eleven finalists have been selected from a strong roster of talent to compete at the inaugural Lyfebulb-Helsinn  Innovation Summit, March 26-27, Monaco
  • The Award recognizes Patient Entrepreneurs’ innovations for cancer and cancer supportive care using drugs, medical devices, consumer products, or healthcare information technologies
  • The award will be presented to the finalist demonstrating outstanding science and entrepreneurial potential to bring their ideas to the market

Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Award & Summit

MONACO, PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO and NEW YORK, NY, March 1, 2018:

 

Lyfebulb, a patient empowerment platform that connects patients, industry and investors to support user-driven innovation in chronic diseases, and Helsinn, with activities focused on early-stage investments in areas of high unmet patient need, today announce the names of the eleven companies launched by patient entrepreneurs who are chosen as finalists for the Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Summit & Award in Oncology. The finalists are invited to compete at the Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Summit & Award, which will be hosted on 26-27 March 2018, by Lyfebulb and Helsinn at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort, in Monaco, Principality of Monaco.

Due to the high quality and quantity of applications this year, there will be 11 finalists:

  • Samuel Wagner of Batu Biologics, Inc
  • Massimo Bocchi of Cellply Srl
  • Walid Al-Akkad of Engitix Ltd
  • Gitte Pedersen of Genomic Expression, Inc
  • Lorenzo Pradella of GreenBone Ortho srl
  • Samir Housri of Mednet, Inc
  • Till Erdmann of Myelo Therapeutics GmbH
  • Christian Apfel of SageMedic, Inc
  • Aaron Horowitz of Sproutel, Inc
  • Thierry Desjardins of Surgisafe Ltd
  • Boaz Gaon of Wisdo Ltd

The Award will recognize outstanding potential among entrepreneurs who have demonstrated an ability to develop and bring to the market innovation designed to improve the quality of life of people with cancer using drugs, medical devices, consumer products and healthcare information technologies. The finalists represent companies of all sizes that have been founded by cancer patients, cancer survivors, or those with close relatives with cancer.

The finalists were selected by Karin Hehenberger, MD PhD, CEO and Founder of Lyfebulb, Leslie Brille, Chief Investment Officer, Lyfebulb, Riccardo Braglia, Helsinn Group Vice Chairman and CEO and Roberto De Ponti, Head of Corporate New Ventures and Strategic Investments, Helsinn International Services. The Innovation Summit has been founded upon Lyfebulb’s concept of Patient Entrepreneurship and Helsinn’s determination to provide the best supportive care for cancer patients and to improve the health and quality of life of every person affected by cancer. A “pitch session” will be held at the summit, where a winner will be selected from the eleven finalists by a panel of experts.

“At Lyfebulb, we interact with numerous individuals who are using their own experiences with chronic disease to originate and develop effective solutions to help others. The level of innovation demonstrated by people who submitted their ideas to the first Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Award were of a very high caliber and we commend all of them. Core to Lyfebulb’s Mission is to empower individuals living with chronic disease, and by embracing patient entrepreneurs and furthering their ideas and businesses, we are doing exactly that.” says Dr. Karin Hehenberger.

Riccardo Braglia added, “I know from experience how a cancer diagnosis can often be a spur towards greater dynamism and entrepreneurship and have seen many examples of great innovation from people who have first-hand experience with the disease. I am looking forward to learning more about the potential of their concepts and am confident that the expertise and industry experience of the judging panel will help choose a finalist who can innovate to improve the lives of people with cancer.”

About Lyfebulb

Lyfebulb is a chronic disease focused, patient empowerment platform that connects patients, Industry (manufacturers and payers) and investors to support user-driven innovation. Lyfebulb promotes a healthy, take-charge lifestyle for those affected by chronic disease. Grounded with its strong foundation in Diabetes, the company has expanded disease states covered into Cancer and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

See www.lyfebulb.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Karin Hehenberger LinkedIn, and Lyfebulb LinkedIn.

About Helsinn International Services sarl

Helsinn International Services sarl is the Helsinn subsidiary which provides a range of advisory services and strategic activities to the Group and its specific companies. In particular, it acts as the advisory company to Helsinn Investment Fund.  

About Helsinn Investment Fund S.A., SICAR

The Helsinn Investment Fund is focused on early-stage investments in areas of high unmet patient need. Backed by the Helsinn Group, and guided by Helsinn’s core values of quality, integrity and respect, Helsinn Investment Fund aims to help companies with innovative technologies to transform new ideas into commercial solutions with the potential to impact health-related quality of life of patients.

For more information, visit www.helsinninvestmentfund.com

About the Helsinn Group

Helsinn is a privately owned pharmaceutical group with an extensive portfolio of marketed cancer care products and a robust drug development pipeline. Since 1976, Helsinn has been improving the everyday lives of patients, guided by core family values of respect, integrity and quality. The Group works across pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices and nutritional supplements and has expertise in research, development, manufacture and the commercialization of therapeutic and supportive care products for cancer, pain and inflammation and gastroenterology. In 2016, Helsinn created the Helsinn Investment Fund to support early-stage investment opportunities in areas of unmet patient need. The company is headquartered in Lugano, Switzerland, with operating subsidiaries in Switzerland, Ireland, the U.S., Monaco and China, as well as a product presence in approximately 190 countries globally.

To learn more about Helsinn Group please visit www.helsinn.com

For more information:

Helsinn Group Media Contact
Paola Bonvicini
Group Head of Communication
Lugano, Switzerland
Tel: +41 (0) 91 985 21 21
For more information, please visit www.helsinn.com and follow us on TwitterLinkedIn and Vimeo.

Press Contact for Lyfebulb:

Karin Hehenberger, MD, PhD
CEO & Founder, Lyfebulb,
Phone: + 00 1 917-575-0210
karin@lyfebulb.com
www.lyfebulb.com
We are on Twitter. Follow us @Lyfebulb

Stephen Fry Reveals How a Routine Checkup Lead to Prostate Cancer Discovery

Actor and writer, Stephen Fry, posted a video on his blog today sharing a heartfelt story of how a routine checkup and flu shot lead to the discovery that he had prostate cancer. Since that discovery, he has recently had his prostate removed.

In the video, he tells of thoughts that he wasn’t ‘the sort of person who gets cancer’. He is currently awaiting test results but hopes he is now free of the disease.TV star urges other men to get their prostates checked for the common problem. Check out the video below.

Would you like to know more about prostate cancer? We’ve put together a few resources for you.

Prostate Cancer Foundation

Cancer Treatment Centers of America

American Cancer Society

Mayo Clinic


Would you like to be inspired by cancer warriors in our community? Click here to read our Lyfe Ambassador Jessica Proto’s Lyfestory. Click here to see how Patient Entrepreneur, Dana Donofree, turned her cancer diagnosis into an intimates clothing line that is taking the world by storm!

Inside the Patient Entrepreneurs Mind: Dana Donofree

Having a chronic illness can be challenging, and running your own business can be hard. No matter where you fit on the spectrum, we could all use a little motivation.  Our #InsidethePatientEntrepreneursMind blog series gives you insight and lifehacks on how to stay motivated from some of the most innovative patient entrepreneurs in the world.

Dana Donofree is the Founder, CEO and Head Designer of AnaOno, a lingerie & loungewear line created specifically for those who’ve been affected by breast cancer and its related surgeries.

Dana sat down with Lyfebulb to tell us how she started the collection after being diagnosed with Infiltrative Ductal Carcinoma. Dana had a bilateral mastectomy with implant reconstruction. She was underwhelmed by the bra options for women in this category and devoted her recovery and career to creating a line that was functional and fashionable.

What motivated you to create a business addressing a disease you know so well?
Being a patient isn’t easy. But it’s not because of the doctor appointments, or the life disruption, or how to manage your loved ones, it’s because all you want is to feel like the person you were before it was interrupted. That is the part no one tells you about or explains how it will affect you on levels outside of the pain, sadness, or struggle you go through…it isn’t just physical, it’s incredibly mental. When I found myself lost, confused, and having no way to find the answers, the diagnosis started dictating parts of life that were never expected, like how I felt about myself, or how I wanted to express my individuality. It was then I woke up and realized I may not be the only facing these challenges. That I may not be alone. I needed to do something about it. For me, that was taking my experience, my background, and my talents and putting them to use. That guided me to launch AnaOno. I wanted to feel beautiful, I wanted to feel sexy, and pretty and it started with my foundation. The act of simply getting dressed in the morning became my most feared task of the day, that didn’t happen before my cancer.

What are some of the hurdles you perceive exist for people with your disease?
People hear breast cancer, they see Pink. Pink shows pretty, femininity, lightness. There is nothing about breast cancer that represents these words that pink is so easily associated with. There is destruction and darkness. These are the realities, they are not pink. They are not something to celebrate. I was diagnosed at 27 years old, my life was just beginning, the pink shower that fell upon me was completely unrelatable. Living as a patient is my reality. I have to constantly face the marketing reality that has been presented to everyone else, that is an everyday struggle.

Who are some of your role models in your space?
My role models are the mothers, sisters, friends, aunts, coworkers that are diagnosed every day. It isn’t our grandmother’s (or grandfather’s) disease anymore. Breast cancer does not discriminate. And although I am facing my 8th year as a patient advocate, I see too many friends and loved ones facing a new diagnosis. They give me strength, remembrance and hope that we will conquer this disease, but we cannot accept what has been done in the past, and we must pave our own path to ensure our future is a world in which we get one more day with the ones we love.

What is your goal beyond creating a successful business?
AnaOno is not just about selling bras. Yes, we sell bras, but it is more than that. It’s a community, a support system that you can rely on for important, tangible information. I don’t want anyone diagnosed with breast cancer to feel alone; that extends itself beyond providing solutions for your treatment, it’s about supporting and holding each other up when we feel like falling. AnaOno can help strengthen that community.

What does Lyfebulb mean to you? How can we support you better? what are some of the biggest gaps today for a “young” entrepreneur?
For Lyfebulb to take a focus on chronic disease, by not only supporting the patients living with it every day but supporting those that have the skills and background to help make a difference, is an important piece of development in our community. Like living day-to-day doesn’t challenge enough, taking the extra step to make those days just a little easier is the path many of us take after facing these unique challenges. I am so proud to be a part of the Lyfebulb family, so I can not only have their support but I can support others taking the path less traveled and adding on the challenge of launching a new business!

How do you stay healthy and motivated to deliver?
Staying healthy is always something I strive for but feel I often fall short. I know life is short. I want to make sure my body is treated in the best way possible, medical side effects can really take hold. Then add on top of that launching a business. I have to give myself time to unwind whenever possible. It may be dinner with my friends, it may be a moment of meditation or a walk through the park. Just a moment to let my mind rest, while my body may be tired. I hope to find my path to mental clarity on a daily basis. That is something I will always have to prioritize in my life.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
As a “young” entrepreneur, I know a lot, but I don’t know everything. Being open to criticism and feedback, using it to become stronger is very important in both personal and professional growth. It is also good to celebrate the wins or accomplishments. Great mentors will be there to celebrate with you!

How can we draw more attention to user-driven innovation?
Starting your own business, or inventing your own solution can be overwhelming, not to mention scary. Especially when you may not have all the skill sets needed, but I do believe with passion you can achieve anything you put your mind to. By telling stories of other entrepreneurs, who have launched their businesses, I can learn more through real voices and challenges. It also helps you to feel not so alone. It’s beneficial to hear the good, the bad and the ugly… because we all have those moments.

How do you maintain work/life balance?
Maintaining a work/life balance is hard when your work is your life. It may sound crazy, but I love every single moment of my life, and those that are involved, and those I get to meet because of AnaOno. It could be an introduction to another young woman facing a diagnosis, or another woman entrepreneur, or even teaching students how they can get started. My life is my passion, and my passion is my life.

If you had three wishes, what would they be?
That by the time my nieces and nephews grow into adults that they don’t have to be afraid when receiving a cancer diagnosis because treatments will be widely available.
For our society to see disparity as equal.
That no woman faced with a diagnosis feels alone in her life and her treatment.

What is your favorite song that gets you motivated?
Janet Jackson, Black Cat


#InsidethePatientEntrepreneursMind is a weekly blog series that highlights members of Lyfebulb’s Patient-Entrepreneur Circle. The Entrepreneur Circle is an educational and inspirational platform for all people living with or affected by chronic disease. Existing entrepreneurs will be available to educate new dreamers through the website and through live events. Check out last week’s featuring Johnnie Refvik. To read more or to apply to join the Entrepreneur Circle click here.

Lyfestories: Jessica Proto’s Breast Cancer Journey

It was the spring of 2017, around March. I was lying in my bed thinking that it had been a while since I did my last breast self-examination. I started to check my left breast and I could quickly feel a small lump there. I checked both breasts and under my arms, no lumps any other places. I asked my boyfriend to check if he could feel it, and he did. I immediately went online and googled “lump in breast”, which led me to several places that explained that a tumor would be hard and very firm, and not easy to move. Since my lump didn’t have those characteristics, I thought that probably it was just a fat cyst, so I waited another month before I checked it again. The second time I checked it I could still feel it; it had the same size, but just to be sure I wanted my doctor to feel it. He sent me to a clinic to take some tests of it. Unfortunately the results came back positive. Me, a 27-year-old girl, had breast cancer.

I think I was in shock at first. I managed to tell my mum that I had some cell alterations, while I told my sister and my brother that I had cancer. Because of my age they wanted me to take another test, just to make sure that it actually was cancer. The second time I got the answer to my result it was easier for me to tell my family and friends that it was, in fact, cancer. I always thought that cancer was something I probably would get when I got old, and it’s still weird for me to think about it.

My lump was small and I started off with surgery the 18th of august 2017. They removed the lump, analyzed it and the tissue around it and found two more tiny lumps. I had to have another surgery to make sure they removed everything, and then started chemotherapy in November. I consider chemo to be my toughest friend. One of those friends that constantly tells you the truth because they want what’s best for you, even if it hurts you a little bit. Chemo hurts my cells, makes my body ache and tired, but it is for my very best. My treatment journey is not over yet, I’ve still got a few months left, and then I can look back at this as a hard chapter of my life.

I am one of the lucky ones and that is why I’ve always tried to stay positive. I know that I’m surviving this so I usually don’t feel that I have any reason to be sad. I do have a bad day now and then, tired of the whole thing and just want to get back to my “normal” life. I miss my long hair and I don’t feel very feminine anymore. But, my hair will grow back, and I will get my “normal” life back. I also found it soothing to share my story with others. It makes me so happy if I can manage to change just one person’s life. I also would like women to open up their eyes and be more aware of this illness. I know a lot of women who started to check themselves at home after finding out about me. I do it every two-three months, and that is why I’m lucky to survive this. My message to you out there, men and women, is: If you are afraid something is wrong or you are not sure how to do a self-examination and need help, call your doctor. It could really save your life like it did to me.

Keep smiling, and stay positive. Life is good.

A call for action to patient entrepreneurs in the area of cancer to compete at the Lyfebulb-Helsinn Summit for the first ever Lyfebulb- Helsinn Innovation Award

The Award recognizes Patient Entrepreneurs’ Innovative Efforts and Ideas for cancer and cancer supportive care using drugs, medical devices, consumer products, or healthcare information technologies. Newly appointed jury panel members unveiled Deadline for submissions: January 22, 2018

MONACO, PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO and NEW YORK, NY, JANUARY, 9, 2018:Lyfebulb and Helsinn Investment Fund S.A., a fund focused on early-stage investments in areas of high unmet patient need, invite patient entrepreneurs that have embraced and endured the real life experiences of cancer to compete for the Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Award. It has been announced today that:

  • Carolyn R. “Bo” Aldige, President and Founder of the Prevent Cancer Foundation
  • Stephen Squinto, PhD, Lyfebulb Chairman and Co-Founder, Venture Partner at Orbimed, and Co-Founder of Alexion
  • Professor Patrick Rampal, MD, President of the Scientific Center of Monaco
  • Professor Franco Cavalli, MD, Director of Oncology, Oncology Institute of Southern Switzerland
  • Professor Françoise Meunier, MD, EORTC Director Special Projects

are the newly-appointed jury panel members of the first Lyfebulb- Helsinn Innovation Award. The Award will recognize outstanding entrepreneurial potential to commercialize innovative efforts and ideas to better manage and improve the quality of life of cancer patients with respect, integrity, and quality, using drugs, medical devices, consumer products and healthcare information technologies. Established companies of all sizes founded by cancer patients, cancer survivors, or those having a close relative with cancer, who have created a product to address issues encountered by cancer patients, are invited to submit applications by January 22, 2018, through the Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Summit & Award website, where more information regarding eligibility and key criteria can also be found.

Ten finalists will be selected by Karin Hehenberger, MD PhD, CEO and Founder of Lyfebulb, and Mr. Riccardo Braglia, Helsinn Group Vice Chairman and CEO, and invited to compete at the Innovation Summit which will be hosted on 26-27 March 2018, by Helsinn Investment Fund at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort, in Monaco, Principality of Monaco. The Summit is founded upon Lyfebulb’s concept of Patient Entrepreneurship and Helsinn’s determination to provide the best supportive care for cancer patients and to improve the health and quality of life of every person affected by cancer. At the summit, the top finalists will be chosen by a panel of experts through a special “pitch session.” In recognition of the best innovative efforts and ideas, a symbolic monetary prize of USD 25’000 will be given to the entrepreneur winner to advance his/her business and use his/her life expertise to help manage the burden of cancer.

“At Lyfebulb, we come into contact with many people who are putting their own experiences with cancer towards developing solutions to help others. Now, for the first time, patient entrepreneurs have the opportunity to receive exposure and financing toward their companies through a targeted event to help them advance their cause,” says Dr. Karin Hehenberger.

Riccardo Braglia added, “Lyfebulb is about encouraging the best in patient entrepreneurship, drawing on the talents of people with first-hand experience of the cancer journey to help develop innovative approaches to cancer supportive care, and this is very much aligned with Helsinn’s journey. We are delighted of the jury panel – their expertise, experience, industry knowledge and dynamism in helping people with cancer will be invaluable.”

About Lyfebulb
Lyfebulb is a chronic disease focused, patient empowerment platform that connects patients, Industry (manufacturers and payers) and investors to support user-driven innovation. Lyfebulb promotes a healthy, take-charge lifestyle for those affected by chronic disease. Grounded with its strong foundation in Diabetes, the company has expanded disease states covered into Cancer and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

See www.lyfebulb.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Karin Hehenberger LinkedIn, and Lyfebulb LinkedIn.

About Helsinn Investment Fund
The Helsinn Investment Fund is focused on early-stage investments in areas of high unmet patient need. Backed by the Helsinn Group, and guided by Helsinn’s core values of quality, integrity and respect, Helsinn Investment Fund aims to help companies with innovative technologies to transform new ideas into commercial solutions with the potential to impact health-related quality of life of patients. Drawing on Helsinn’s over 40 years of investment into research and development and commercial expertise, the investment fund selects companies with technologies in a range of areas including cancer therapeutics and diagnostics, cancer supportive care, metabolic and gastrointestinal disorders, and dermatology conditions.
For more information, visit www.helsinninvestmentfund.com

About the Helsinn Group
Helsinn is a privately owned pharmaceutical group with an extensive portfolio of marketed cancer care products and a robust drug development pipeline. Since 1976, Helsinn has been improving the everyday lives of patients, guided by core family values of respect, integrity and quality. The Group works across pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices and nutritional supplements and has expertise in research, development, manufacture and the commercialization of therapeutic and supportive care products for cancer, pain and inflammation and gastroenterology. In 2016, Helsinn created the Helsinn Investment Fund to support early-stage investment opportunities in areas of unmet patient need. Since 2012, Helsinn has been coordinating clinical and regulatory activities in China from Beijing and in 2017 established an office in Shanghai to pursue commercial activities. The company is headquartered in Lugano, Switzerland, with operating subsidiaries in Switzerland, Ireland, and the U.S., as well as a product presence in approximately 190 countries globally.

For more information:
Helsinn Group Media Contact
Paola Bonvicini
Group Head of Communication, Helsinn
Lugano, Switzerland
Tel: +41 (0) 91 985 21 21
Info-hhc@helsinn.com
Please visit www.helsinn.com
We are on Twitter. Follow us @HelsinnGroup
We are on LinkedIn. Follow us @ Helsinn Group

Press Contact for Lyfebulb:
Karin Hehenberger, MD, PhD
CEO & Founder, Lyfebulb,
Phone: + 00 1 917-575-0210
Email: karin@lyfebulb.com
Please visit www.lyfebulb.com
We are on Twitter. Follow us @Lyfebulb

Call to Action for Innovators and Patient Entrepreneurs

A call for action to patient entrepreneurs in the area of cancer to compete at the Lyfebulb-Helsinn Summit for the first ever Lyfebulb- Helsinn Innovation Award

  • The Award recognizes Patient Entrepreneurs’ Innovative Efforts and Ideas for cancer and cancer supportive care using drugs, medical devices, consumer products, or healthcare information technologies
  • Newly appointed jury panel members unveiled
  • Deadline for submissions: January 22, 2018

 

MONACO, PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO and NEW YORK, NY, JANUARY, 9, 2018:

Lyfebulb and Helsinn Investment Fund S.A., a fund focused on early-stage investments in areas of high unmet patient need, invite patient entrepreneurs that have embraced and endured the real life experiences of cancer to compete for the Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Award.

It has been announced today that:

  • Carolyn R. “Bo” Aldige, President and Founder of the Prevent Cancer Foundation
  • Stephen Squinto, PhD, Lyfebulb Chairman and Co-Founder, Venture Partner at Orbimed, and Co-Founder of Alexion
  • Professor Patrick Rampal, MD, President of the Scientific Center of Monaco
  • Professor Franco Cavalli, MD, Director of Oncology, Oncology Institute of Southern Switzerland
  • Professor Françoise Meunier, MD, EORTC Director Special Projects

 

are the newly-appointed jury panel members of the first Lyfebulb- Helsinn Innovation Award.

The Award will recognize outstanding entrepreneurial potential to commercialize innovative efforts and ideas to better manage and improve the quality of life of cancer patients with respect, integrity, and quality, using drugs, medical devices, consumer products and healthcare information technologies. Established companies of all sizes founded by cancer patients, cancer survivors, or those having a close relative with cancer, who have created a product to address issues encountered by cancer patients, are invited to submit applications by January 22, 2018,  through the Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Summit & Award website, where more information regarding eligibility and key criteria can also be found.

Ten finalists will be selected by Karin Hehenberger, MD PhD, CEO and Founder of Lyfebulb, and Mr. Riccardo Braglia, Helsinn Group Vice Chairman and CEO, and invited to compete at the Innovation Summit which will be hosted on 26-27 March 2018, by Helsinn Investment Fund at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort, in Monaco, Principality of Monaco. The Summit is founded upon Lyfebulb’s concept of Patient Entrepreneurship and Helsinn’s determination to provide the best supportive care for cancer patients and to improve the health and quality of life of every person affected by cancer. At the summit, the top finalists will be chosen by a panel of experts through a special “pitch session.” In recognition of the best innovative efforts and ideas, a symbolic monetary prize of USD 25’000 will be given to the entrepreneur winner to advance his/her business and use his/her life expertise to help manage the burden of cancer.

“At Lyfebulb, we come into contact with many people who are putting their own experiences with cancer towards developing solutions to help others. Now, for the first time, patient entrepreneurs have the opportunity to receive exposure and financing toward their companies through a targeted event to help them advance their cause,” says Dr. Karin Hehenberger.

Riccardo Braglia added, “Lyfebulb is about encouraging the best in patient entrepreneurship, drawing on the talents of people with first-hand experience of the cancer journey to help develop innovative approaches to cancer supportive care, and this is very much aligned with Helsinn’s journey. We are delighted of the jury panel – their expertise, experience, industry knowledge and dynamism in helping people with cancer will be invaluable.”

 

About Helsinn Investment Fund

The Helsinn Investment Fund is focused on early-stage investments in areas of high unmet patient need. Backed by the Helsinn Group, and guided by Helsinn’s core values of quality, integrity and respect, Helsinn Investment Fund aims to help companies with innovative technologies to transform new ideas into commercial solutions with the potential to impact health-related quality of life of patients.

Drawing on Helsinn’s over 40 years of investment into research and development and commercial expertise, the investment fund selects companies with technologies in a range of areas including cancer therapeutics and diagnostics, cancer supportive care, metabolic and gastrointestinal disorders, and dermatology conditions.

For more information, visit www.helsinninvestmentfund.com

 

About the Helsinn Group

Helsinn is a privately owned pharmaceutical group with an extensive portfolio of marketed cancer care products and a robust drug development pipeline. Since 1976, Helsinn has been improving the everyday lives of patients, guided by core family values of respect, integrity and quality. The Group works across pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices and nutritional supplements and has expertise in research, development, manufacture and the commercialization of therapeutic and supportive care products for cancer, pain and inflammation and gastroenterology. In 2016, Helsinn created the Helsinn Investment Fund to support early-stage investment opportunities in areas of unmet patient need. Since 2012, Helsinn has been coordinating clinical and regulatory activities in China from Beijing and in 2017 established an office in Shanghai to pursue commercial activities. The company is headquartered in Lugano, Switzerland, with operating subsidiaries in Switzerland, Ireland, and the U.S., as well as a product presence in approximately 190 countries globally.

Lyfestories: “Cancer with a Smile”– Finding Life After Cancer

For many people including myself finishing treatment for cancer can leave you feeling a little lost. You expect to feel over the moon but often end up down in the dumps which can come as a shock. A recent survey by Breast Cancer Care discovered that more than half of breast cancer patients questioned struggled with anxiety after treatment ended and 26% said life after cancer was harder than chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

At this weeks final Moving Forward course with Breast Cancer Care we had a group session with a councillor and all eleven of us said we found life after cancer much harder than we had expected. Initially when treatment stops, being out of the cycle of hospital appointments is unsettling. I found I had got used to the constant care and attention of the nurses and doctors. It was comforting to know they were on hand if you had any problems.

Then treatment stops and its time to get back to your ‘normal’ life, but it just doesn’t seem to fit anymore.

Talking to the other ladies at the course it became clear we all felt a similar feeling of loss but for different reasons. One lady even described it as being like grieving, grieving your old life and body. I could completely relate to this as, for me, hormone therapy and the side effects are something that, ten months in, I am still learning to live with. I feel angry and cheated that, at 35 years old, I am dealing with severe menopausal symptoms while my friends are all having babies. The physical changes that breast cancer brings is another big hurdle many women face. The war may have been won but there are still a lot of casualties to be treated, operations that haven’t gone to plan, unpredictable fatigue and painful scar tissue.

The overall consensus from the group was that the mental scars run far deeper than the ones on our bodies. Many of us feel frustrated that, months after treatment is finished, cancer is still bringing us down but we find it hard to admit this to friends and family. The fear of recurrence is also very raw and many of use don’t trust our bodies anymore, fearing that every little ache or pain is the cancer returning.

Fortunately there are lots of resources out there. Macmillan and Breast Cancer Care both offer courses and counseling that can help cancer fighters deal with life after cancer. I had six sessions of counseling through Cancer Support Scotland which I found really helped get my head in a much better place. We finished the course in a lovely way by writing a letter to ourselves that we will receive in a few months time as a reminder of how far we have come. Our group was keen to stay in touch with each other and the course leader very kindly collected all our phone numbers and email addresses so we can arrange to get together again.

The ‘Someone Like Me’ service that Breast Cancer Care offers is another fantastic way to find someone who has been through a similar experience. It’s also very important to remember our cancer nurses are there for us during and after treatment, so if you have any niggling questions or side effects they are only a phone call away. If you don’t feel happy calling your hospital the Breast Cancer Care Helpline is manned by specialist nurses.

Life after cancer is hard but we are most definitely not expected to handle it alone.

To check out more of Audrey’s amazing work, go here: https://cancerwithasmile.com/

Instagram: @cancerwithasmile

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