Drug Discovery Initiative

Drug Discovery Initiative


Drug Discovery Initiative The Drug Discovery Initiative will for the
first time bring researchers broadly working in drug discovery from across the University
together, and this is really important as drug discovery is one domain that really can
result in innovative translational research. So if we all work together and collaborate
together in a focussed and strategic way, the reach and impact of our research is much
greater, positioning the University both nationally and internationally. The areas in which the Drug Discovery Initiative
will focus on are those that are aligned with the multidisciplinary initiatives that the
University has already identified within the health area, and those are: cancer, metabolic
disorders, neuroinflammation, neurological and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as
infectious diseases. For the Brain and Mind Centre and particularly
for the research work I do on ageing and degeneration, there are no drugs that the mechanism. And without actually having a concerted effort
with this and the Drug Discovery centre, I don’t think we’ll get one. For us, it’s extremely important. It will actually mean that we can take currently
already identified drugs and repurpose them to make it specific for the disorders, or
develop new drugs. And we’re hoping develop new drugs that we
can image, because we can’t take the tissue out to look at it. I represent the Cancer Research Network, which
is a big cross-University multidisciplinary initiative, brings together everybody who
is involved in cancer. What we’ve really seen as we’ve reviewed our
activities over the last few years is really we have many powerful connections that make
this University very effective particularly at translation. And then at the other side, really powerfully
connected clinicians, public health researchers. Bringing that evidence to change and to change
what happens for patients. A really critical part of that is the way
we turn discoveries that are potentially exploitable as drugs, turning that through drug development
and clinical trials, to change at the bedside. That’s really a fundamental part of what University
of Sydney cancer research has always been about and it’s great to see it being energised
by this initiative. The Drug Discovery Initiative is extremely
important to us, because it will create a perfect synergy with what we are doing here,
what we’re developing, especially in the area of diagnostic and new tests for safety, efficacy
or toxicity of drugs or new chemicals. I’m really enthusiastic about the Drug Discovery
Initiative, here at the Charles Perkins Centre, because we work on metabolism – the set of
processes that mediates the difference between the environment and disease, whether that
be obesity, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease. Now we know that those same pathways can be
targeted by drugs, so what we’re trying to do is understand the interplay between drugs
and lifestyle impacting disease, and that’s to me the real promise of the Drug Discovery
Initiative. In cardiovascular medicine at Sydney Uni,
we’ve got a lot of strengths in both clinical research and also fundamental research in
understanding the mechanisms of both atherosclerosis – one of our biggest killers and causes of
heart attack and stroke – as well as heart muscle disease, so the cause of heart failure. Our strengths, as I say, is often being in
actually discovering the mechanisms. To now be able to work with the Drug Discovery
team and the Drug Discovery Initiative to try to actually be able to specifically target
these abnormalities gives us big hope to actually make inroads relevant to these patients. The Drug Discovery Initiative at the University
of Sydney is a wonderful development, because it will allow our work to progress more quickly. Tuberculosis is a huge problem globally, and
in our region, drug resistant tuberculosis is a particular problem. Working with people in Chemistry and other
colleagues in the CPC, our group at the Centenary Institute is developing and testing new drug
leads for this human health problem. The new initiative will bring new facilities
and expertise, which will allow this work to proceed more quickly. The Drug Discovery Initiative is important
in my own research, because it’s going to consolidate all the amazing expertise that
we have here at the University, so it’s going to focus and be a central point of contact
for expertise and collaborators that I can go to, to accelerate and progress my research. What’s also really exciting about the Drug
Discovery Initiative is the discovery aspect – the ability to be able to make true discoveries,
things that are unexpected, simply because we now have the capacity and the facilities
and the environment to enable that. A key objective for the Drug Discovery Initiative
is to provide training for researchers, postgraduate students and undergraduate students in drug
discovery and the drug discovery process. It’s important that we have training for the
next generation of talent and leaders, but also for the next generation of entrepreneurs. I’m excited about this initiative with the
power it gives us to make a real difference.

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