ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Laura Indolfi - Biomedical entrepreneur
Laura Indolfi is revolutionizing cancer treatment with new technologies including implantable devices for delivering drugs locally to the site of a tumor.

Why you should listen

Laura Indolfi is a biomedical entrepreneur, CEO and co-founder of PanTher Therapeutics, an early stage spin-out from MIT and MGH that provides superior technologies for revolutionizing the treatment of locally advanced inoperable solid tumors. Prior to this she served as an entrepreneur-in-residence at the MGH Cancer Center and as a research associate in the Harvard-MIT Institute for Medical Engineering and Science. She was selected as a TED Fellow in 2016.

Indolfi has broad professional experiences and interests ranging from biomedical engineering to entrepreneurship and outreaching initiative to promoting science. Her scientific expertise covers a broad range of therapeutic areas (cardio, cancer, inflammation, regenerative medicine) and approaches (drug delivery, cell therapy, implanted devices). Together with her strong technical background, Laura has hands-on business and managerial know-how developed during her biomedical business training at Sloan and Harvard Business Schools and with several consulting firms. She strongly believes in the power of outreach initiatives to promote research awareness and foster the public audience's discovery of the beauty of science. In 2014 the line of clothes Cytocouture, created in collaboration with Colombian designer Carlos Villamil and inspired by her cell-therapy research, won the global competition Descience.

Indolfi holds a MS/BS degree in materials science and engineering and a PhD in biomaterials from the University of Naples Federico II in Italy. Upon graduation, she joined the Harvard-MIT Division of health, science and technology, working on several projects spanning from devices for local drug delivery to tissue engineering approaches for cell therapies.

More profile about the speaker
Laura Indolfi | Speaker | TED.com
TED2016

Laura Indolfi: Good news in the fight against pancreatic cancer

Laura Indolfi: Boas noticias na loita contra o cancro de páncreas

Filmed:
1,319,228 views

Calquera que perdera un ser querido por cancro de páncreas, sabe ben a devastadora velocidade con que esta enfermidade pode afectar a unha persoa sa. Laura Indolfi, emprendedora en biomedicina e membro de TED, está desenvolvendo un método revolucionario para tratar esta complexa e letal enfermidade: un dispositivo dispensador de fármacos que actúa coma unha gaiola sobre o tumor, evitando a súa propagación e liberando o medicamento só onde é necesario. Como di ela: "Esperamos que algún día o cancro de páncreas sexa unha enfermidade curábel".
- Biomedical entrepreneur
Laura Indolfi is revolutionizing cancer treatment with new technologies including implantable devices for delivering drugs locally to the site of a tumor. Full bio

Double-click the English transcript below to play the video.

00:14
By raising your hand,
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Levantade a man
00:15
how many of you know
at least one person on the screen?
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os que recoñezades algunha
das caras da pantalla...
00:20
Wow, it's almost a full house.
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Uauh! Case todo o mundo!
00:22
It's true, they are very famous
in their fields.
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Si, todas esas persoas son
famosas nos seus campos.
00:24
And do you know what
all of them have in common?
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E sabedes qué teñen en común?
00:27
They all died of pancreatic cancer.
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Todas elas morreron de cancro de páncreas.
00:30
However, although it's very,
very sad this news,
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Aínda que é unha noticia moi triste,
00:33
it's also thanks to their personal stories
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grazas ás súas historias individuais
00:36
that we have raised awareness
of how lethal this disease can be.
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somos máis conscientes do letal
que pode ser esta enfermidade.
00:40
It's become the third cause
of cancer deaths,
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É a terceira causa de morte por cáncer,
00:43
and only eight percent of the patients
will survive beyond five years.
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e tan só o 8% dos enfermos
sobrevivirá máis de cinco anos.
00:49
That's a very tiny number,
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É unha porcentaxe moi pequena,
00:51
especially if you compare it
with breast cancer,
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sobre todo se a comparas
coa do cancro de mama,
00:53
where the survival rate
is almost 90 percent.
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onde temos case un 90%
de taxa de supervivencia.
00:57
So it doesn't really come as a surprise
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Non é, pois, unha sorpresa,
01:00
that being diagnosed
with pancreatic cancer
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que ser diagnosticado de
cancro de páncreas
01:02
means facing an almost
certain death sentence.
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signifique enfrontarse, practicamente,
a unha sentenza de morte.
01:06
What's shocking, though,
is that in the last 40 years,
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Porén, o que resulta sorprendente
é que nos últimos 40 anos
01:09
this number hasn't changed a bit,
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esa porcentaxe non minguara nada,
01:12
while much more progress has been made
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mentres que si se fixeron moitos progresos
01:14
with other types of tumors.
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con outros tipos de tumor.
01:16
So how can we make pancreatic cancer
treatment more effective?
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Entón, como podemos facer máis efectivo
o tratamento de cancro pancreático?
01:20
As a biomedical entrepreneur,
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Como emprendedora en biomedicina,
01:22
I like to work on problems
that seem impossible,
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gústame traballar en desafíos
que parecen imposíbeis;
01:25
understanding their limitations
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gústame entender as súas limitacións
01:27
and trying to find new,
innovative solutions
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e procurar atopar solucións innovadoras
01:30
that can change their outcome.
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que poidan cambiar o resultado lóxico.
01:33
The first piece of bad news
with pancreatic cancer
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A primeira má noticia sobre
o cancro de páncreas
01:35
is that your pancreas is in the middle
of your belly, literally.
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é que este órgano atópase,
literalmente, no medio do ventre.
01:39
It's depicted in orange on the screen.
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Está pintado de laranxa na pantalla,
01:41
But you can barely see it
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pero apenas poderás velo
01:43
until I remove all the other
organs in front.
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ata que retire tódolos outros
órganos de diante.
01:47
It's also surrounded
by many other vital organs,
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O páncreas tamén está rodeado
por moitos outros órganos vitais,
01:50
like the liver, the stomach,
the bile duct.
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como o fígado, o estómago
ou o conduto biliar.
01:53
And the ability of the tumor
to grow into those organs
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A capacidade que ten o tumor
de medrar neses órganos
01:56
is the reason why pancreatic cancer
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é a razón pola que o cancro de páncreas
01:58
is one of the most painful tumor types.
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é un dos tumores máis dolorosos.
02:02
The hard-to-reach location
also prevents the doctor
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A dificultade para localizalo
tamén impide que o médico
02:05
from surgically removing it,
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o extirpe mediante cirurxía,
02:07
as is routinely done
for breast cancer, for example.
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procedemento xa rutineiro co
cancro de mama, por exemplo.
02:10
So all of these reasons leave
chemotherapy as the only option
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Por todas estas razóns,
a quimioterapia é a única opción
02:14
for the pancreatic cancer patient.
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para o paciente de cancro de páncreas.
02:16
This brings us to the second
piece of bad news.
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Isto lévanos á segunda má noticia...
02:19
Pancreatic cancer tumors have
very few blood vessels.
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Os tumores no páncreas teñen moi
poucos vasos sanguíneos.
02:23
Why should we care
about the blood vessel of a tumor?
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Pero, por que deberían importarnos
os vasos sanguíneos dun tumor?
02:27
Let's think for a second
how chemotherapy works.
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Pensemos durante un segundo
en como funciona a quimioterapia:
02:30
The drug is injected in the vein
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O fármaco inxéctase na vea
02:32
and it navigates throughout the body
until it reaches the tumor site.
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e navega polo corpo
ata acadar o lugar do tumor.
02:37
It's like driving on a highway,
trying to reach a destination.
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É como conducir nunha autovía,
tentando chegar a un destino.
02:42
But what if your destination
doesn't have an exit on the highway?
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Que pasa se na estrada non existe
unha saída para o teu destino?
02:45
You will never get there.
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Que non chegarás nunca.
02:47
And that's exactly the same problem
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Estamos exactamente ante o mesmo problema
02:49
for chemotherapy and pancreatic cancer.
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coa quimioterapia e o cancro de páncreas.
02:53
The drugs navigate
throughout all of your body.
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As medicinas percorren todo o corpo,
02:55
They will reach healthy organs,
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chegarán a órganos sans,
02:58
resulting in high toxic effect
for the patients overall,
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producindo efectos moi tóxicos
para a saúde xeral do paciente,
03:02
but very little will go to the tumor.
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pero moi pouco fármaco chegará ao tumor.
03:04
Therefore, the efficacy is very limited.
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Daquela, a eficacia é moi limitada.
03:08
To me, it seems very counterintuitive
to have a whole-body treatment
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Paréceme bastante contraditorio
medicar todo o corpo
03:13
to target a specific organ.
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para curar un órgano específico.
03:15
However, in the last 40 years,
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Con todo, nos últimos 40 anos
03:18
a lot of money, research
and effort have gone towards
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destináronse moitos cartos,
investigacións e esforzos
03:22
finding new, powerful drugs
to treat pancreatic cancer,
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a encontrar novos e potentes fármacos
contra o cancro de páncreas,
03:26
but nothing has been done
in changing the way
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pero nada se fixo para cambiar a maneira
03:29
we deliver them to the patient.
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en que llos subministramos ao paciente.
03:32
So after two pieces of bad news,
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Ben, despois de dúas más noticias,
03:34
I'm going to give you
good news, hopefully.
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vouvos dar, espero, boas novas.
03:37
With a collaborator at MIT
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Xunto cun colaborador do MIT
03:39
and the Massachusetts
General Hospital in Boston,
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e o Hospital Xeral
de Massachusetts en Boston,
03:42
we have revolutionized
the way we treat cancer
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vimos de revolucionar a forma
na que tratamos o cáncer,
03:45
by making localized
drug delivery a reality.
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facendo posible enviar o
medicamento ao lugar preciso.
03:48
We are basically parachuting you
on top of your destination,
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Basicamente, o que facemos é lanzarte
en paracaídas enriba do teu destino,
03:52
avoiding your having to drive
all around the highway.
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aforrándoche conducir todo
ao redor da autovía.
03:55
We have embedded the drug
into devices that look like this one.
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O que fixemos foi inserir o fármaco
en dispositivos parecidos a este,
04:01
They are flexible enough
that they can be folded
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o bastante flexíbeis para seren dobrados
04:06
to fit into the catheter,
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e encaixar no catéter;
04:08
so the doctor can implant it
directly on top of the tumor
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así o médico pode implantalo
directamente sobre o tumor
04:12
with minimally invasive surgery.
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cunha cirurxía minimamente invasiva.
04:14
But they are solid enough
that once they are positioned
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Estes dispositivos son o bastante sólidos
para que, unha vez colocados
04:18
on top of the tumor,
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encima do tumor,
04:20
they will act as a cage.
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actúen coma unha gaiola,
04:21
They will actually
physically prevent the tumor
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evitando fisicamente que o tumor
04:25
from entering other organs,
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se introduza noutros órganos,
04:26
controlling the metastasis.
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controlando a metástase.
04:30
The devices are also biodegradable.
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Os dispositivos tamén son biodegradábeis,
04:32
That means that once in the body,
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polo que unha vez dentro do corpo,
04:34
they start dissolving,
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comezan a disolverse,
04:36
delivering the drug only locally,
slowly and more effectively
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soltando a medicina no lugar exacto,
lentamente e con máis eficacia
04:41
than what is done with the current
whole-body treatment.
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do que se facía ata agora
tratando todo o corpo.
04:45
In pre-clinical study,
we have demonstrated
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Nun estudo preclínico demostramos
04:48
that this localized approach
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que este achegamento localizado
04:50
is able to improve by 12 times
the response to treatment.
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é capaz de multiplicar por 12
a resposta ao tratamento.
04:54
So we took a drug that is already known
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Así que collemos un fármaco xa coñecido
04:57
and by just delivering it locally
where it's needed the most,
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e só por aplicalo
onde é realmente máis necesario,
05:01
we allow a response
that is 12 times more powerful,
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obtemos unha resposta
12 veces máis potente,
05:05
reducing the systemic toxic effect.
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que reduce o efecto tóxico para o corpo.
05:09
We are working relentlessly to bring
this technology to the next level.
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Estamos traballando arreo
en mellorar esta tecnoloxía.
05:13
We are finalizing the pre-clinical testing
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Estamos a piques de rematar
os estudos preclínicos
05:16
and the animal model required
prior to asking the FDA for approval
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e os tests en animais requiridos antes
de solicita-la aprobación do Goberno
05:20
for clinical trials.
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para ensaios clínicos.
05:22
Currently, the majority of patients
will die from pancreatic cancer.
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Hoxe en día, a maioría dos pacientes
con cancro de páncreas morre.
05:28
We are hoping that one day,
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Confiamos en que un día
05:29
we can reduce their pain,
extend their life
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poidamos atenua-la súa dor,
prolonga-las súas vidas,
05:33
and potentially make pancreatic cancer
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e quizais, facer do cancro de páncreas
05:36
a curable disease.
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unha enfermidade curábel.
05:38
By rethinking the way we deliver the drug,
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Repensando a forma
na que se aplica o fármaco,
05:41
we don't only make it
more powerful and less toxic,
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non só o facemos
máis potente e menos tóxico,
05:44
we are also opening the door
to finding new innovative solutions
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senón que abrimo-la porta
para atopar novas solucións
05:49
for almost all other impossible problems
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a case tódolos outros problemas imposíbeis
05:52
in pancreatic cancer patients and beyond.
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para os pacientes de cancro de páncreas
e moitos outros.
05:55
Thank you very much.
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Moitas grazas.
05:56
(Applause)
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(Aplausos)

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ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Laura Indolfi - Biomedical entrepreneur
Laura Indolfi is revolutionizing cancer treatment with new technologies including implantable devices for delivering drugs locally to the site of a tumor.

Why you should listen

Laura Indolfi is a biomedical entrepreneur, CEO and co-founder of PanTher Therapeutics, an early stage spin-out from MIT and MGH that provides superior technologies for revolutionizing the treatment of locally advanced inoperable solid tumors. Prior to this she served as an entrepreneur-in-residence at the MGH Cancer Center and as a research associate in the Harvard-MIT Institute for Medical Engineering and Science. She was selected as a TED Fellow in 2016.

Indolfi has broad professional experiences and interests ranging from biomedical engineering to entrepreneurship and outreaching initiative to promoting science. Her scientific expertise covers a broad range of therapeutic areas (cardio, cancer, inflammation, regenerative medicine) and approaches (drug delivery, cell therapy, implanted devices). Together with her strong technical background, Laura has hands-on business and managerial know-how developed during her biomedical business training at Sloan and Harvard Business Schools and with several consulting firms. She strongly believes in the power of outreach initiatives to promote research awareness and foster the public audience's discovery of the beauty of science. In 2014 the line of clothes Cytocouture, created in collaboration with Colombian designer Carlos Villamil and inspired by her cell-therapy research, won the global competition Descience.

Indolfi holds a MS/BS degree in materials science and engineering and a PhD in biomaterials from the University of Naples Federico II in Italy. Upon graduation, she joined the Harvard-MIT Division of health, science and technology, working on several projects spanning from devices for local drug delivery to tissue engineering approaches for cell therapies.

More profile about the speaker
Laura Indolfi | Speaker | TED.com