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Healx launch project with aPODD to identify new treatment for medulloblastoma

8 February 2016   |  
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An ambitious project to identify potential treatments for an aggressive form of brain cancer in children has been launched. The project is a collaboration between Cesare Spadoni of aPODD, a drug development-focused charity registered in London and the Healx team.

The aPODD-Healx project will analyse medicines already in clinical use and identify potential new treatment for childhood Medulloblastoma, a life-threatening cancer with limited therapeutic options. Currently the standard treatment of this type of brain cancer relies heavily on radiotherapy, which comes with severe side effects for children. Less toxic and more effective approaches are urgently needed.

The concept of drug repurposing has a long history in medicine development and can count notable success such as Aspirin and Viagra, two drugs that found application in very different therapeutic areas. Viagra was co-invented and repurposed by the Healx Chair, Dr David Brown. In order to identify novel repurposing opportunities, we’ll combine in-depth expertise in drug discovery, computational biology and literature mining. Because of our social mission, we want to work with patient groups and charities like aPODD to help them identify safe and effective drugs.

aPODD‘s mission is to accelerate the development of new drugs that are effective and safe for the treatment of cancer in children. The organisation is led by a team of drug development professionals with scientific and commercial background in pharmaceutical and biotech companies. This drug repurposing project fits very well with pod’s operating model, which is about building bridges between companies with interesting assets and technologies and the academic and patients’ communities, in order to deliver quicker benefits to patients.

The expected outcome of the initial phase of this project is a list of compounds with a predicted therapeutic effect in Medulloblastoma. Both organisations are already in discussion with leading academic centres and technology providers regarding the subsequent experimental validation of these drug repurposing candidates in the appropriate preclinical models. We are planning a joint crowdfunding campaign in 2016 to raise the necessary funds to complete the project.

The ultimate goal of this ambitious project is the selection of at least one compound for a pivotal clinical trial in patients.

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