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Drug Repurposing: Applying Yesterday's Solutions to Tomorrow’s Problems

We have accepted the importance of recycling such that it has become a part of our culture but adopting the same mindset in the world of pharmaceuticals has been anything but easy. Bessi confronts this challenge and discusses the paramount importance and value of drug repurposing in the treatment of diseases moving forward. Using her own experience of an accidental discovery in the lab of a new use for a generic drug, she highlights the importance of drug repurposing for the treatment of diseases and how it ties into the principle of polypharmacology.

Bessi discusses the shift in our approach to treating diseases due to the interconnectedness of the body and highlights well-known examples of drug repurposing. Although drug repurposing is both cost- and time-efficient compared to traditional drug discovery, there is still resistance in the field. Fortunately, technological advancements and our scientific understanding allow us to mine information so that we no longer have to wait and hope for serendipitous accidents.

Bessi makes the case that we are moving in the right direction towards getting effective treatment to patients faster, but that continued success will require a collaborative effort with academic groups, private companies, non-profits, and regulatory bodies. Bessi is a published researcher pursuing a Ph.D. in experimental medicine at Queen's University in Kingston, ON. Her work aim is to successfully develop a combination therapy for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Her research entertains the use of repurposed drugs, focusing on identifying their newly found anticancer effects and optimizing a treatment regimen for use in the clinical setting. Bessi is eager to continue her work in the field of drug repurposing, combining her interests and curiosity of the combination of disease states, normal body function, and drug mechanisms.

She wants to continue to push the boundaries of our understanding of the interconnected networks of the body to challenge the way we look at drug development. She best describes her role as a mixture of Bill Nye meets Mythbusters.