Every Cure: Unlocking Drug Potential Through Artificial Intelligence With Waqas Haque, MD, MPH, and Tracey Sikora, Co-Founder

In this installment of Oncology Data Advisor’s Exploring Artificial Intelligence in Oncology series, Dr. Waqas Haque, Fellows Forum member and incoming Hematology/Oncology Fellow at the University of Chicago, speaks with Tracey Sikora, Co-Founder of Every Cure, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to repurpose existing FDA-approved drugs for other indications, especially in rare diseases.  

Check out the discussion to learn more about:

  • Challenges in finding treatments for rare diseases, including sparse data, low patient numbers, and lack of financial incentive for pharmaceutical companies
  • Every Cure’s mission to unlock the potential of drugs that are already on the market
  • Harnessing the latest AI and machine learning technology to structure data in a biomedical knowledge graph, looking at drugs, diseases, pathways, and targets
  • Barriers in drug repurposing, including clinical validation and eventual approval
  • The Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) grant and the importance of federal funding for rare disease research
  • How to develop efficient clinical trials without a large sample size
  • The future of AI-enabled drug discovery in oncology
  • And more!

AI, of course, means a lot of different things, but what's great is that there have been advances made in many, many areas. A lot of times when AI and drug development are spoken about, people talk about target discovery and trying to find new drugs to fit those specific targets, but there are also opportunities in diagnosis. There are opportunities in using medical records and mining real-world evidence that just couldn't be done at the scale that requires AI. There are opportunities in the drug repurposing space as well. What are these drugs? What targets are they hitting, and are there some similarities between cancers where we can find repurposing opportunities? Oncology has a really rich history of drug repurposing. We sometimes use it as a model for how we want to do drug repurposing in rare diseases. Seeing those efforts continue to build on the infrastructure that's already in place, I think that AI will greatly augment the work that's already been done, and we'll see a lot of progress in oncology in the next couple of years.

About the Speakers

Waqas Haque, MD, MPH, is a third-year Internal Medicine Resident at New York University (NYU) in a Clinical Investigator Track. He recently matched to the University of Chicago for fellowship, which he will be beginning later in 2024. As a Clinical Investigator Track Resident, Dr. Haque has balanced his patient care work with a variety of research projects. During his fellowship training at the University of Chicago, he plans to further his work in innovative clinical trial design, value-based care delivery to cancer patients, and clinical investigation.

Tracey Sikora is the Co-Founder of Every Cure, along with Dr. Grant Mitchell and Dr. David Fajgenbaum. She has over a decade of experience in the rare disease and repurposed drug spaces. Her preclinical work studying pentosan polysulfate for mucopolysaccharidosis I (MPS I) and cyclodextrin for Niemann-Pick Type C led to further investigation in clinical trials. She has also partnered with biotechnology companies and rare disease organizations to lead clinical trials in familial hypercholesterolemia, Fabry disease, and Castleman disease. At Every Cure, Ms. Sikora creates plans for innovative, well-executed trials to maximize research funding and challenge the realities of real-world clinical research.

For More Information

Every Cure (2024). Available at: https://everycure.org/

ARPA-H (2024). Available at: https://arpa-h.gov/

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