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18Mar 2020

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Oncode Compound Library: find new therapeutic applications that others missed

Drug repurposing is an effective approach to rapidly identify novel indications for known drugs and compounds. In order to support researchers in bringing novel therapeutic applications to the patient at affordable costs, Oncode has obtained the next generation Broad Institute Drug Repurposing library, which contains more than 6.000 drugs in various stages of clinical development (abandoned, off-patent, launched, etcetera). Netherlands Cancer Institute researcher Rene Bernards came up with the idea of using this library.

The Broad Institute Drug Repurposing library contains over 6.000 existing drugs in various stages of clinical development, including abandoned, off-patent and launched. Among those, researchers from the Broad Institute recently identified nearly 50 drugs with previously unrecognized anti-cancer activity, and published their findings in Nature Cancer.

New applications

Group leader René Bernards at the Netherlands Cancer Institute and Oncode Institute initially came up with the idea of acquiring the compound library for Oncode. Bernards: "One of the reasons why I thought this library is of immense added value for Oncode, is that it could support our goal of making healthcare and drug development more affordable. For instance, if researchers find a new application for a drug that is already licensed for patient use, it would mean that we could clinically develop it further at a much faster pace and with less costs involved. In addition, most of the compounds in this library were only tested in a very limited setting, meaning not all possible applications were investigated."

3 versus 7 days

"As cancer researchers, we are interested in very specific processes. We want to know whether a process is activated or deactivated by a certain compound. For example, we are interested in targeting senescent cells and it can take up to 7 days before you see any results. It is therefore very likely that we pick up on active compounds which were initially missed by the pharmaceutical industry, as their assays are typically only 3-day assays."

Centres of expertise

"The Broad compound library is of great value to Oncode researchers. It really gives them the opportunity to do targeted research and find things that others missed before. We focus on many different types of research and cancers and the library caters for this."

Oncode's Drug Repurposing programme enables its researchers to have access to the library. Furthermore, Oncode will provide interested investigators with the technical infrastructure and expertise that is required to perform compound screens, even with a complex experimental setup. There are currently two centres of expertise within Oncode: the Netherlands Cancer Institute and Leiden University Medical Center, with experts who can support researchers to optimize their assays, execute the screens, and analyze the data.

Learn more:

-          Check out this video about the Broad Institute Drug Repurposing library

-          Oncode's Drug Repurposing programme

Photo credit: Len Rubenstein Broadchembio62308

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