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Targeting cancer 'Shark Tank' style

The University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute is taking a cue from television in its bid to research and treat cancer.

The owners of Cincinnati's Tom + Chee had an idea to turn their grilled cheese restaurant into a larger franchise operation. They went on the TV show Shark Tank and eventually got the funding they needed to make that dream come true.

The University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute is taking that idea and applying it to cancer research.

Director Bill Barrett, MD says participants from 10 UC colleges and departments—Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Allied Health, Business, Engineering, Physics, Biology, Chemistry and Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning - will team this weekend to come up with innovative ideas for targeting cancer. The team voted to have the best idea will receive $100,000 to implement its research.

"I'm hoping that it has some major impact," says Barrett. "That particular may have a major impact but the other ideas that don't get funded {on Saturday} may have potential as well. I think there's going to be a lot of ideas coming out of this."

The teams will only have a few hours to brainstorm and pitch their proposals.

"This may not be the way science normally works, on the other hand, so many important discoveries in medicine have been by complete accident. The discovery of chemotherapy was a complete accident. There was an explosion in Italy in 1943 that, by total accident, led to the discovery of chemotherapy for cancer treatment." says Barrett.

He adds another major medical discovery also came as a surprise: penicillin.

Tana Weingartner earned a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in mass communication from Miami University. Prior to joining Cincinnati Public Radio, she served as news and public affairs producer with WMUB-FM. Ms. Weingartner has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including several Best Reporter awards from the Associated Press and the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and a regional Murrow Award. She enjoys snow skiing, soccer and dogs.