SPARK Educational Forum: Drug Repurposing

Prof. Craig Garner
DZNE, Founder of SPARK Berlin

Challenges in drug development include high risk, high costs and extended timelines. Drug repurposing, which means the use of a drug with prior clinical experience for a new clinical indication, opens up a new avenue with promise to be faster, less risky and at lower costs. Discovering new uses for approved drugs is one of the quickest possible transitions from bench to bedside. At the same time using alternative methods to identify the new use for old drugs is possible and promising. On the one hand, in silico prediction models are useful, on the other hand, knowledge about pathomechanisms can lead to new targets that can be targeted with known drugs. Prof. Garner will introduce the audience to the various opportunities that drug repurposing offers to answer current unmet needs, how drug repurposing candidates may be identified and also touch upon the collaborative repurposing platforms that are around.

Prof. Ulrike Stein
ECRC (Charité and MDC)

Particularly in cancer therapy, repurposing of already approved drugs is a very attractive strategy. In the second part of the evening, Prof Ulrike Stein will tell us about and share her experience with drug repurposing for treatment of cancer. Prof. Stein heads the group “translational oncology of solid tumors” at the ECRC, Charité and MDC, and has a long track record in translational research. She has been focusing on new molecules and signaling mechanisms as key players in tu­mor progression and metastasis of solid tumors. She developed novel prognostic and predictive biomarkers for tissue- and liquid biopsy-based diagnosis, prognosis, patient stratification and treatment monitoring. Additionally, she is interested not only in the mechanisms of signaling-based restriction of cancer metastasis using repositioned, newly identified and specifically designed drugs but also in translating her newly identified drugs to bring them to patients.