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#iDR24 - An international conference to move drug repurposing forward

#iDR24 - An international conference to move drug repurposing forward

BRUSSELS - The Anticancer Fund champions drug repurposing for cancer at the #iDR24 conference, taking place on March 6 and 7, 2024 in Barcelona. Identifying new uses for existing medicines, represents a significative opportunity for cancer patients.

The upcoming #iDR24 conference ‘Bridging Boundaries for Innovative Drug Repurposing’ will unite experts from both research and patient communities and is the first international drug repurposing conference organised by the REMEDi4ALL European platform. REMEDi4ALL is an EU-funded research initiative involving 24 partners – including the Anticancer Fund – launched to drive forward the repurposing of medicines in Europe.

Exploring repurposing medicines for all

Drug repurposing, the strategy that seeks new treatments for diseases from the existing armoury of licensed medicines, is not unique to the cancer world. Repurposing is actively used in infectious diseases, psychiatry and for many rare diseases. This is reflected in REMEDi4ALL and in the program of the #iDR24 conference.

#iDR24: a milestone event

The event promises to be a dynamic forum for discussion, featuring scientific sessions, patient advocacy insights, funders’ perspectives, and policy debates. It is a rich mix of content that is a marker for the positive environment that the repurposing movement has become. Speakers include representatives from patient organisations, clinical specialists, funding organisations, medical regulators, and researchers.

Leading the change

The Anticancer Fund has been instrumental in shaping the conference #iDR24 and has, among other initiatives, coordinated three sessions of the cancer track of the conference, emphasising the critical need for repurposed drugs in oncology.

  1. 'Cancer patients need repurposed drugs'  

Patricia Vandamme, Policy Officer of the Anticancer Fund, leads this session - highlighting, primarily from a patient’s perspective, how drug repurposing might address patients’ unmet medical needs, especially for patients with rare cancers and with few therapeutic options.

At the Anticancer Fund we put the patient back at the centre, by exploring how solutions proposed for their needs can be implemented.

  1. 'Selecting the strongest drug repurposing candidates to move to the clinic'

Pan Pantziarka, Director of Drug Repurposing of the Anticancer Fund, has a session looking at how drug candidates are selected for clinical investigation by using multiple techniques for a range of different cancers, from literature-based methods to AI.

An issue in repurposing research is picking the best candidate drug for clinical investigation – picking the wrong drug can lead to failure, so we’re bringing together experts to offer valuable insights into getting it right.”                

  1. 'Trialling repurposed drugs with access to patients in mind'

Gauthier Bouche, Director Clinical Research, chairs a session on the second day - exploring the challenges of clinical trials with repurposing drug candidates that will ultimately reach patients.  

It takes a village to take a drug repurposing candidate all the way to patients and in particular change in the regulatory framework in Europe could be instrumental. Our impressive speakers will talk as much about succeeding as about tripping, failing and getting back to work to help patients.”  

Uniting for a cause: REMEDi4ALL

In recent years we have seen drug repurposing move from a niche interest to mainstream prominence - on the agenda of patients, doctors, and policy makers. Platforms such as REMEDi4ALL are central in moving things further. A key part of this is bringing together research funders interested in drug repurposing - to share best practices, encourage collaboration and hopefully to increase funding streams for repurposing research. The Anticancer Fund, as a research funder, is an active participant in the REMEDi4ALL Funders Network that has been formed recently and will also be meeting at #iDR24.

A call to action

The #iDR24 conference represents a landmark moment for drug repurposing. Bringing bright minds from around the globe together, this event is set to forge a path to new accessible and affordable treatments. Please join us.

More about the conference
More information about REMEDi4ALL