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CA Live w circleR 2018 v2

CureAccelerator Live! for the Developing World 

May 23, 2019 in Cambridge, MA

CureAccelerator Live! is our philanthropic pitch event where up to 5 PIs are the finalists presenting their clinical repurposing trials for up to $50,000 in funding and attendees select the winning project.

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Congratulations to the winner of CureAccelerator Live! for the Developing World: Majdi Osman, MD, MPH, OpenBiome "The THRIVE Study: Repurposing Fecal Microbiota Transplantation For the Treatment of Severe Acute Malnutrition in South Africa"

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Read the full press release here & see photos of the event here!


Still Ready to Fund:


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Aileen Chang, MD, George Washington University "Repurposing a Flu Treatment For Severe Dengue Patients in Colombia" (click to see project summary)

Dengue viruses (DenV) are among the leading causes of pediatric morbidity and mortality globally, with 96 million symptomatic cases annually worldwide and no targeted treatments. Once infected by DenV, individuals who are symptomatic often experience high fever, muscle and joint pain, and rash. However, some individuals can develop more severe symptoms experiencing dengue shock syndrome. Low and lower-middle income countries suffer from DenV infections disproportionately, due to lack of healthcare infrastructure and capacity to manage dengue cases. In mice, Zanamivir, a medication currently FDA approved to treat Influenza A and B, has been shown to decrease vascular leakage caused by DenV, which is the primary cause of death in severe dengue infections. If effective, Zanamivir administration may offer a potentially safe and efficacious treatment to improve morbidity and mortality caused by dengue infection. This 60 patient clinical trial will evaluate the safety and efficacy of Zanamivir in treating severe dengue infections. 

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Other Institutions Affiliated: Universidad el Bosque (Colombia), Naval Medical Research Center


Daniel Kalman, PhD, Emory University "Repurposing a Generic Cancer Drug For Tuberculosis in South Africa" (click to see project summary)

Host Directed Therapeutics (HDTs) are an alternative to antibiotics that may allow treatment of antibiotic-resistant TB infections. Primate studies have shown strong efficacy of the cancer drug imatinib against active TB, and the addition of imatinib was an improvement over antibiotics alone. These results led to a $4.5M NIH-funded, ongoing human clinical trial with imatinib for antibiotic-sensitive TB, the first large-scale, adequately powered trial of a HDT for TB (80 patients for the dosing trial, 195 patients for the efficacy trial). While the NIH funding was sufficient to cover the patient enrollment, and basic dosing and efficacy measurements, the funding level was not sufficient to cover crucial experiments to determine why the drug is effective against TB. The data generated with CureAccelerator Live! funding will prove crucial to evaluating imatinib as a HDT for TB, and serve as a baseline for the evaluation of all other HDTs for TB. 

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Other Institutions Affiliated: Aurum Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Baylor, University of Florida


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Rajiv Mehta, MBBS, MD, DNB, SIDS Hospital & Research Centre "Repurposing a Statin With a Nutraceutical For Chronic Pancreatitis Patients in India" (click to see project summary)

The present understanding is that acute pancreatitis leads to the development of chronic pancreatitis, which can be associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. Experimental animal studies revealed beneficial effects of statins in pancreatitis, and results of retrospective human studies also support these findings. Simvastatin has been extensively prescribed for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutraceutical. This study will assess the effects of simvastatin in patients with acute or chronic pancreatitis with prior history of one or more episodes of acute pancreatitis. 35 patients will be divided into 3 randomized groups to determine the anti-inflammatory, anti-fibrotic and quality of life effects of the different treatments in patients with pancreatitis: 1) combination therapy with simvastatin and NAC; 2) simvastatin alone; and 3) standard therapy. 

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Other Institutions Affiliated: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center


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Indira Mysorekar, PhD, Washington University School of Medicine "Repurposing an Anti-Malarial to Treat Zika Virus Infections in Pregnant Women in India" (click to see project summary)

Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-transmitted flavivirus that has become a major global health threat. Infections during pregnancy have been linked to intrauterine growth restriction, spontaneous abortion, and microcephaly. We recently have found the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to be effective in inhibiting ZIKV growth and replication. ZIKV is known to damage and kill the placental cells (which act as a barrier to protect the developing fetus from disease-causing organisms), leading to fetal infection. HCQ was able to significantly reduce viral load in placental cells and is already given to pregnant women for suppression of rheumatic diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus. Thus, HCQ may be a highly effective and safe therapeutic against ZIKV-associated adverse effects during pregnancy. We plan to conduct a clinical trial with 100 pregnant women in India (50 for HCQ; 50 for standard of care) to determine the efficacy of HCQ in alleviating adverse fetal effects due to ZIKV.

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Other Institutions Affiliated: Indian Institute for Technology


Read the press release announcing these finalists here!

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pictured above: CA Live! winners from past events


CureAccelerator Live! for the Developing World is sponsored by and hosted at 



in collaboration with 

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Attendees of Harvard's Global Health Catalyst Summit receive discounted registration to
CureAccelerator Live! for the Developing World.
Email for discount code.


Thank You to the Judy Hirsch Foundation for philanthropic support

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Questions? Email Director of Scientific Affairs: Dr. Clare Thibodeaux at

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Don't miss our next CureAccelerator Live! of 2019, focused on Rare Diseases. Click here for those event details.

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