When you’re one of 500 applicants, and the prizes go to five winners, you better be good, or part of the 1 percent, to borrow a phrase. Count among the top Judit Puskas, a materials scientist at the University of Akron and the recipient of $100,000 in seed money as part of the global GE healthymagination Cancer Challenge.

Puskas, along with other researchers at the university and Summa Health System, is pursuing a new breast implant, one that would be safer and more capable of destroying cancer cells. The effort is the picture of innovation, making a product better, taking the performance to new levels.

The trouble with today’s silicone implants are well-known. They can tear and leak. Puskas wants to avoid these troubles via an implant made from an impermeable polymer. More, she wants to imbed medications in the implant, easing pain, preventing infection, avoiding traditional chemotherapy treatment and the difficult side effects.

The value of the prize totals more than its sum, the attention likely attracting new resources and advancing the timetable. There’s also something for the region as a whole. Talent is a most valuable commodity. The more Judit Puskases we have, the higher the quality of all our lives.