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Using old drugs for new purposes: strategies to improve cardiovascular health and drug translation

Dr Sonali Gnanenthiran, Institution: University of New South Wales

2021 Postdoctoral Fellowship  

Years funded: 2022-2024  

New medicines typically cost hundreds of millions of dollars, requiring over a decade to develop. Repurposing existing medicines may rapidly provide safe, effective, affordable therapies to treat and prevent cardiovascular events. Dr Sonali Gnanenthiran's project encompasses a series of studies that assess new uses for old medicines already on the market or new combinations of medicines to reduce cardiovascular events. 

The research involves testing: 

(i) an anti-inflammatory drug as a new blood thinner in elderly people; 
(ii) a blood pressure lowering medicine in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to improve health outcomes; 
(iii) a new single pill of several medicines (‘polypill’) including a blood thinner, cholesterol lowering drug and an anti-inflammatory to prevent recurrent heart attacks; 
(iv) a new polypill to treat heart failure by improving compliance to recommended medicines. 

Repurposing well-tolerated commonly used drugs offers an innovative, cost-effective and practical strategy to improve health outcomes in high-risk patients.

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