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Initiative seeks to bolster ‘rediscovery research’

Sep. 10, 2015, 9:31 AM

The Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR) is partnering with a public charity, Cures Within Reach, to encourage “rediscovery research,” the “repurposing” of already approved medical treatments to other conditions or diseases for which there are no “universally” effective therapies.

Vanderbilt researchers can apply for pilot funding to pursue their ideas by submitting an application to VICTR to request a letter of support. The application website is

If approved for funding by VICTR, researchers can post their letters of support for additional funding on an external site, CureAccelerator is an innovative, open-access platform created by Cures Within Research with a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The goal is to connect researchers and clinicians to patient groups, the biomedical industry and to potential sources of funding, and ultimately increase the healthcare impact of repurposing research projects.

“Drug repurposing has become one of the most productive areas in the process of identifying new medical therapeutics, especially in … rare diseases and also in cancer,” said VICTR Director Gordon Bernard, M.D. “This program will be an important contribution to this growing national effort.”

Bernard, the Melinda Owen Bass Professor of Medicine, is also associate vice chancellor for Clinical and Translational Research.

Examples of rediscovery research include:

• Repurposing an FDA approved drug or drug combinations to treat “off- label” diseases;

• Combining an older drug or a combination of older drugs with a newer drug to increase the newer drug effectiveness;

• Matching a drug with another treatment modality, such as radiation, in a way that makes either the drug or the non-drug treatment work better;

• Testing combinations of vitamins, supplements and botanicals for efficacy; and

• Modifying treatment protocols, including the dose, frequency of administration and time of day drugs are given, to improve their effectiveness in greater numbers of patients over longer periods of time.

Cures Within Reach originally began as Goldman Philanthropic Partners, a private operating foundation established in 1998 to accelerate discovery of new treatments for people with catastrophic diseases. That effort evolved, in 2005, into a public charity called Partnership for Cures, renamed Cures Within Research in 2012.

For more information, visit, or contact VICTR’s Scientific Review Committee Administration Team: or 615-322-8629.

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