NIH turns to crowdsourcing to repurpose drugs

Experimental drugs proven safe but perhaps not sufficiently effective in initial testing or against a first disease target may sit gathering dust on the shelves of pharmaceutical companies. An NIH-sponsored effort based on a crowdsourcing strategy to establish collaborations between industrial and academic partners to test and develop these therapeutic compounds was met with an overwhelming response and has led to clinical testing of a broad range of pilot projects and a newly announced round of funding opportunities. These findings are described in a Review article in the preview issue of the new journal Drug Repurposing, Rescue, and Repositioning.

Christine M. Colvis, PhD and Christopher P. Austin, MD, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD, explain that the Center does not focus on a particular disease or organ system, allowing it to support a broad scope of projects that link indications with unmet medical needs to the mechanisms of action of new drug compounds that are ready to move into patient testing. In the article "The NIH-Industry New Therapeutic Uses Pilot Program: Demonstrating the Power of Crowdsourcing") the authors state that among the new funding opportunity announcements released by the Center in May were 12 therapeutic agents for pediatric indication consideration.

"This article describes not only how targeted can link up the assets, the know-how, and the creativity that drug repurposing needs, but also how such a program can be organized to serve the best interests of all concerned parties," says journal Editor Hermann Mucke, PhD, H.M. Pharma Consultancy, Vienna, Austria. "Pharmaceutical companies and academia must collaborate to leverage their huge potential synergies in compound re-development, and by arranging and mentoring this pilot program NCATS has firmly established its role as a mediator in repurposing."

More information: Drug Repurposing, Rescue, and Repositioning DOI: 10.1089/drrr.2014.0006

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Gamers helping in Ebola research

16 hours ago

Months before the recent Ebola outbreak erupted in Western Africa, killing more than a thousand people, scientists at the University of Washington's Institute for Protein Design were looking for a way to stop the deadly virus.

Carcinogenic role of a protein in liver decoded

19 hours ago

The human protein EGFR controls cell growth. It has mutated in case of many cancer cells or exists in excessive numbers. For this reason it serves as a point of attack for target-oriented therapies. A study ...

A new way to diagnose malaria, using magnetic fields

Aug 31, 2014

Over the past several decades, malaria diagnosis has changed very little. After taking a blood sample from a patient, a technician smears the blood across a glass slide, stains it with a special dye, and ...

User comments