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On February 28, 2019, Rare Disease Day, an alliance of leading life-science companies, in partnership with Mission: Cure, announced the promising results of a 4-month “datathon” aimed at identifying potential treatments for chronic pancreatitis. Using artificial intelligence and statistical techniques, datathon participants identified 4 existing, approved drugs as repurposing candidates worth testing as possible cures for pancreatitis.
New Pancreatitis Treatment Candidates
The drugs identified are believed to address (target) specific defective genes or processes that lead to pancreatitis.
- Lacosamide, targeting Cathepsin B
- Dapsone, targeting the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR gene)
- Rolipram, targeting Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a)
- Prednisolone, targeting TNF-a
Megan Golden, Mission: Cure’s co-founder and co-director, says, “We look forward to taking the promising candidates to the next step where we hope they will help us find effective treatments for this difficult, rare disease.”
A Unique Public-Private Partnership
Mission: Cure would like to thank its collaborators in the datathon: Elsevier, a data analytics firm that supplied the innovative artificial intelligence framework used in the datathon, the Pistoia Alliance, a nonprofit consortium founded by major life science companies that works to lower barriers to innovation, and Cures Within Reach, a nonprofit leader in research to apply already-approved drugs to treat new diseases.
Two academic scientists played major roles in the project. Mission: Cure is grateful for their work and hopes to continue to collaborate with them.
Dr. Bruce Aronow is the John Hutton MD Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Co-director of the Computational Medicine Center at Cincinnati Children’s and has developed a computable data model network for chronic pancreatitis that helped determine which drugs were most likely to correct the biological problems causing pancreatitis.
Dr. Aleksandar Poleksic, Professor, University of Northern Iowa, used data science to predict which drug candidates would have the least side effects for patients.
Successful Collaboration Between Patients, Industry and Academia
The success of this project highlights the role that partnering with pharma and life sciences companies and academic institutions can play in bringing us closer to discovering a cure. It is by pooling our expertise that we will achieve our mission and bring new treatments to those who need it the most.
To get updates on Mission: Cure’s efforts to test these drugs and bring those that work to patients, sign up for Mission: Cure’s email list.