Cures Within Reach started repurposing drugs, devices and nutraceuticals by accident. We funded one many studies repurposing Thalidomide for multiple myeloma in 2000. We selected that Rediscovery Research project for funding, not because it was a drug repurposing project, but because it was the most promising project to accelerate the search for a cure from among a group of projects, all the rest of which were New Discovery Research. In 2000, there was almost nothing published in the news or scientific literature about repurposing. Had we shouted "Rediscovery Research" in the Grand Canyon of the medical research world in 2000, there would have been no echo!
Our next inadvertent selection of a Rediscovery Research project was in 2005 when we selected a repurposing project from Dr. David Teachey at CHOP to build a mouse model of the disease autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (ALPS) to test the efficacy of the drug sirolimus. Once again, we selected that project not because it was a Rediscovery Research project, but because it had the best "bang for the buck" chance of touching patient lives. In 2005 you could find a few articles about drug repurposing in the news and the medical literature.
By 2009, Cures Within Reach had started to see a much larger influx of Rediscovery Research opportunities, and we decided to focus our mission on Rediscovery Research. Even then, only 5 years ago, repurposing medical research was still mostly unheralded as a potential way to save patient lives. When we went to a conference to talk about repurposing (if we could even get invited) few people were interested, and they were all academics. We had a hard time convincing academic research institutions that there were lots of Rediscovery Research ideas in the minds of their faculties. We talked to funders who were still fixated on the expensive and long-term promises of New Discovery research. Pharmaceutical companies wouldn't talk to us at all.
That has all changed. Over the last 5 years, Rediscovery Research and the repurposing it supports is becoming pervasive in medical research-in academia, at the NIH, for pharmaceutical companies and biotechs, at the FDA, in conferences and at disease specific non-profits and patient advocacy groups. Barely a day goes by without a publication, conference, news article, press release or other public display of Rediscovery Research. Here are a few articles that were recently published:
The Rediscovery Research Revolution is well underway. There are many groups looking at innovative ways of finding, funding and furthering this repurposing, repositioning, reprofiling, reformulation, and reuse research. There are thousands of drug, device and nutraceutical repurposing opportunities to be repurposed and exponential opportunities when we combine two or more drugs, devices and/or nutraceuticals. We continue to collect these opportunities, to educate funders about the enormous potential they hold for patient impact, and to create collaborative frameworks for the stakeholders in repurposing to work together effectively. We hope you will join the revolution!