University of Michigan Researcher Wins 2017 CureAccelerator Live!

Thyroid Cancer Clinical Trial Receives Funding to Repurpose Existing Drugs as Treatment
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Skokie - Illinois - US


SKOKIE, Ill. - Nov. 21, 2017 - PRLog -- Last week, Paul Swiecicki, MD of the University of Michigan won the second annual CureAccelerator™ Live! philanthropic pitch event. CureAccelerator Live! brings together stakeholders from pharma, biotech, academia, medicine, philanthropy and patient groups to showcase repurposing projects in need of funding. The event was organized by Cures Within Reach, a leading global nonprofit focused on improving patient quality and length of life by leveraging the speed, safety and cost-effectiveness of medical repurposing research, and its Young Professionals Board. After listening to presentations, attendees voted for the winning repurposing clinical trial. This year, CureAccelerator Live! had a cancer focus, with projects using repurposed therapies to treat an unsolved cancer or an unmet cancer need.

"All the projects presented at CureAccelerator Live! have the potential to quickly create a positive impact in the lives of cancer patients," said Clare Thibodeaux, PhD, Director of Scientific Affairs at Cures Within Reach. "We congratulate Dr. Swiecicki on his winning clinical trial, and recognize the outstanding work of the other finalists. The attendees truly had a difficult voting decision to make."

Attendees gathered at MATTER in Chicago to learn about drug repurposing research conducted at five academic centers across the country to treat five different types of cancer. Dr. Swiecicki's project, "Old Drugs as New Treatments for Metastatic Thyroid Cancer," will combine the generic drugs cyclophosphamide and sirolimus to help an underserved patient population with few treatment options. If successful, this combination could provide a more effective, better tolerated and less-expensive therapy for patients suffering from metastatic thyroid cancer. Dr. Swiecicki will receive up to $50,000 in funding from Cures Within Reach to support his research.

The other finalists who presented their cancer-related drug repurposing projects at CureAccelerator Live! included:

• Chris Lominska, MD, University of Kansas Medical Center: "Repurposing Auranofin to Make Rectal Cancer Radiotherapy Better, Faster and Cheaper"

• Michael Spiotto, MD, PhD, University of Chicago: "Repurposing Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs for Head and Neck Cancer Patients"

• Bakhos Tannous, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University: "Clinical Trial to Evaluate a Novel Drug Combination to Increase Glioblastoma Survival Rates"

• Stephen Wong, PhD, Houston Methodist Research Institute: "Repurposed Cardiac Glycosides to Treat Medulloblastoma

Expert Panelists representing pharma, clinicians, hospital systems, academia and patient advocacy helped attendees make a more informed voting decision. Panelists included:

• Kristina Allikmets, MD, PhD – Takeda Pharmaceuticals

• Ermilo Barrera, Jr., MD – NorthShore University Health System/University of Chicago Medicine

• Ivy Elkins – Lung Cancer Survivor and Cancer Research Patient Advocate

• Sigrun Hallmeyer, MD – Advocate Medical Group/Advocate Lutheran Hospital

• James Mulshine, MD – Rush University Medical Center

CureAccelerator Live! 2017 sponsors included: Horizon Pharma, PwC, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Grund & Leavitt, IBM, the Judy Hirsch Foundation, Medmarc, Service Insurance Agency and Seyfarth Shaw.

For more information about CureAccelerator Live!, please visit


Cures Within Reach (CWR) is a US-based global philanthropic leader that improves patient quality and length of life by leveraging the speed, safety and cost-effectiveness of medical repurposing research, driving more treatments to more patients more quickly. CWR catalyzes research to facilitate and validate repurposing opportunities that create clinical impact, and enables and facilitates conversation and action among stakeholders that help transform healthcare through repurposing opportunities. Through repurposing, CWR drives both market impact and health savings to patients and patient groups, from academia / researchers, with payers and the healthcare industry and with support from the government, philanthropy and others. CWR's repurposing research projects have generated over a dozen "new" treatments making patient impact through off-label use in clinical practice or through a commercialization track. CWR currently has 25 repurposing research projects either funded or approved for funding.


Cures Within Reach built CureAccelerator to provide a global collaboration space and marketplace for repurposing research that can deliver effective solutions to unsolved diseases. The CureAccelerator platform was built with a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to provide a platform in which drugs, devices and nutraceuticals approved for one or more human diseases can be repurposed to create "new" treatments in other diseases. CureAccelerator has over 1,400 users who have proposed more than 180 projects, of which more than 20 have received funding and are moving towards patient impact.

Visit us at or follow us via Twitter @CuresWReach,, or

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Tags:Cancer, Drug Repurposing, Health
Location:Skokie - Illinois - United States
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