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The Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII) will fund a research project on drug repositioning for rare diseases, which will be headed by the Barcelona Science Park Drug Discovery Platform (PCB). This is one of the three proposals approved by the ISCIII under the framework of the International Rare Diseases Research Consortium (IRDiRC), an initiative that was born out of a proposal from the European Commission and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2011.

The other two projects, to be carried out by the Research Institute for Rare Diseases (IIER) in Madrid and the Center for Biomedical Network Research on Rare Diseases (Ciberer) in Valencia, focus on creating a nationwide register of rare diseases (based on those already in place in the autonomous regions) and a translational, experimental and therapeutic research project on Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

The three projects selected will last 2, 3 and 5 years, respectively, with a total funding of €5,750 millions.

The IRDiRC aims to delve deeper into minority diseases and push knowledge forward in this field, developing new therapeutic and diagnostic strategies for rare diseases and fostering global registers based on national ones. Spain was the first European country to join the Consortium, committing to contribute €10 millions —through the ISCIII— to research projects over the coming five years (2012-2016).

“The drug repositioning for rare diseases project that we will coordinate from the PCB, in collaboration with the University of Santiago de Compostela and the Barcelona Municipal Institute for Medical Research, will allow us to establish a annotated database of interactions between drugs used to treat other diseases and proteins linked to rare diseases. The predictions generated will be experimentally valid, and this will speed up clinical research as to the efficacy of these known drugs to treat specific rare diseases,” explained Jordi Quintana, director of the Drug Discovery Platform and technical director of Scientific Business Development at the Barcelona Science Park.

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