Cures Within Reach Launches Clinical Repurposing for Veterans Initiative to Impact Veterans with Unmet Medical Needs

Effort includes at least one $50,000 grant to support a clinical trial utilizing a proven therapy for a new indication
CHICAGO - Nov. 11, 2020 - PRLog -- Cures Within Reach (CWR), 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, today launched its Clinical Repurposing for Veterans Initiative. The program's goal is to identify new medical treatments for already approved medications and devices to impact high-priority health concerns for veterans and active military.

CWR finds and funds clinical and preclinical repurposing projects using proven therapies in new indications. Several of CWR's 23 ongoing repurposing trials impact veterans' issues, and one trial is actively enrolling veterans.

CWR is launching its Clinical Repurposing for Veterans Initiative with a Request for Proposals specifically for repurposing research in any disease area that will benefit veterans. Investigator-initiated proposals can come from any US-based institution, and at least one project will be selected to receive a $50,000 grant from Cures Within Reach and its funding partner, the Kahlert Foundation for a clinical repurposing trial. CWR is actively seeking additional funds from foundations and other charitable sources to support more projects to address veterans' unmet medical needs, including mental health and brain injuries.

"The Kahlert Foundation has been supporting both the work of Cures Within Reach and efforts to improve the lives of veteran for several years," said Greg Kahlert, president of the Kahlert Foundation. "Combining our interests to support research repurposing approved therapies to treat unmet medical needs faced by veterans allows the Kahlert Foundation to double our impact. It's a win-win approach to improve the health and quality of life of the men and women who have given so much for their country. We hope other foundations will join us in funding this new Clinical Repurposing for Veterans Initiative as a fast, cost-effective way to impact those who served."

CWR is partnering with a variety of supportive organizations, including Veterans Administration (VA) research hospitals around the US and the National Association of Veterans' Research and Education Foundations (NAVREF). CWR also has formed a Veterans Advisory Committee that will provide guidance and support on the Initiative, including the grant selection process. These two groups represent active military and veterans, clinical research at military hospitals and academic universities, clinical care, therapeutic development, industry, the patient voice and philanthropy.

The Clinical Repurposing for Veterans Initiative is similar to global drug repurposing efforts to develop new, fast-tracked COVID-19 therapies. "Testing proven therapies for new indications is well-established as the fastest way to bring safe and effective treatments to patient populations. Currently, drug repurposing is a primary strategy to fight the coronavirus pandemic," said Cures Within Reach President & CEO Barbara Goodman. "We are excited to highlight the opportunity of using medical repurposing to tackle the unmet needs of our veterans and military families."

A Track Record of Success Supporting Veterans
Veterans experience complicated medical conditions, such as mental health, substance use disorders, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, brain injury, traumatic limb amputation and other bodily injuries at disproportionally higher rates than their civilian counterparts.

CWR provides the seed funds for pilot, proof-of-concept studies that, when successful, catalyze follow-on funding from organizations such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Defense (DOD), the VA, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and industry. Over the past 12 years, $7 million provided by CWR helped lead to more than $55 million in research funds from other sources.

"Focusing on funding for veterans' unmet medical needs is critical. The support I received from Cures Within Reach allowed me to launch my clinical repurposing trial in depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to help veterans," said Desmond Oathes, PhD, of the Perlman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "Early data from my research allowed the team to apply for follow-on NIH funding based on the promising results from our recent pivotal trial."

Examples of CWR's ongoing projects to impact veterans and/or active military, including Dr. Oathes' trial, are:
  • A generic multiple sclerosis drug now being tested to diagnose nerve damage in limb trauma patients at Pennsylvania State University, led by Dr. John Elfar (read more here)
  • Repurposing over the counter cough medicine as a rapid-acting antidepressant at Johns Hopkins University, led by Dr. Adam Kaplin (read more here)        
  • Using imaging techniques to guide targeted brain stimulation to treat depression and PTSD at University of Pennsylvania, led by Dr. Desmond Oathes (read more here)
In addition, a finalist from CWR's September 2020 CureAccelerator Live! pitch event represented the Hines VA Hospital in Illinois with a project for brain injury. More info on this project is available on the CWR website, including a link to the project poster and Dr. AndreĢ Lindsey's 8-minute pitch.

About Cures Within Reach
Cures Within Reach (CWR) is a US-based 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. 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 currently has a global portfolio of 23 repurposing research projects at 20 institutions in 17 diseases. Visit cureswithinreach.org.

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Barbara Goodman
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Tags:Veteran, Repurposing, Clinical Trial, Mental Health, Ptsd, Military, Brain Injury
Industry:Health, Medical, Non-profit
Location:Chicago - Illinois - United States
Subject:Projects
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