Time. It’s the single most valuable gift healthcare providers can give their patients. However, in the case of AL Amyloidosis, a lack of awareness and innovation in diagnosis can too often leave patients with fewer days with their loved ones.
AL Amyloidosis is a rare, life-threatening blood cell disorder that occurs when blood plasma cells in the bone marrow produce amyloid deposits, which build up in vital organs and eventually cause organ deterioration. Almost one-third of patients with AL amyloidosis will visit five or more physicians before being diagnosed, and nearly three-quarters are diagnosed over a year after initial symptoms occur.
The symptoms of AL Amyloidosis are common to other diseases such as congestive heart failure and kidney diseases. As of now, lack of awareness and protocols in place can mean diagnosis can take years, costing the patient the precious time needed to get to the right therapy.
Too often, patients with AL Amyloidosis are running a race they don’t know has even started. Delays in diagnosis can lead to delays in treatment, which may mean irreversible decline in organ function. As many as 30 percent of patients with AL amyloidosis die within the first year after diagnosis.
Identifying an unmet medical need is the start, but finding the next great idea requires us to raise awareness and provide the resources and know-how to help bring that idea to life. At Janssen Research & Development, LLC, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, we know that through innovation we can deliver new hope. We believe that innovations are not just created here but all around the world, and we are committed to advancing care for patients through a world-wide collaborative effort. This is why we’re calling on innovators to submit their potentially groundbreaking ideas or technologies aimed at optimizing AL amyloidosis detection and early diagnosis to the Improving Detection of Early AL Amyloidosis (IDEA) QuickFire Challenge.
One of the hurdles innovators working on rare diseases face is the lack of funding and awareness around their disease area. The QuickFire Challenge is a unique opportunity to get dedicated funds and resource innovative methods, which can ultimately lead to innovating care. The innovator(s) with the best potential solutions can receive $250,000, $150,000, or $50,000 in grant funding; access to the Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS ecosystem; and mentorship from experts with the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies.
We’re seeking innovations that can integrate into everyday clinical care. One of the things I’m looking for most is that when a patient shows up with symptoms we would think of as ‘everyday,’ there is something in the patient’s chart or in the data that would trigger follow up due to suspected AL Amyloidosis. Because AL Amyloidosis may not be top of mind, the constellation of symptoms needs to be flagged as warranting follow up.
Working together, we can ignite transformational potential solutions with the aim to tackle these critical questions to bring life-changing results to patients. Those with novel ideas are encouraged to apply for the QuickFire Challenge through July 16, 2021. To learn more and apply, please visit http://jji.jnj/IDEA.
 Lousada I, Comenzo RL, Landau H, et al. Light chain amyloidosis: patient experience survey from the Amyloidosis Research Consortium. Advances in Therapy. 2015;32(10):920-928.
 McCausland KL, et al. Patient. 2018;11(2):207-216.
 Merlini G, et al. Light chain amyloidosis: the heart of the problem. Haematologica. 2013;98(10):1492-1495.
 As appropriate by expertise and/or regulatory considerations, and subject to the execution of an award agreement.