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NCATS Initiative To Use Abandoned Experimental Drugs For Other Uses ‘A Step In The Right Direction’

The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS) — a new plan to help speed drug development by making abandoned experimental drugs available to researchers who can look for alternative uses — “is an indication that the Obama administration and the medical research enterprise are thinking out of the box,” Michael Manganiello, a partner at HCM Strategists, writes in a Huffington Post “Politics Blog” opinion piece. Manganiello — who says the drug AZT, which originally was developed to treat cancer, helped him live long enough to reap the benefits of new drugs developed in the mid-1990s to treat HIV infection — joined HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and NIH Director Francis Collins this week in launching the initiative, which he says “is a step in the right direction and it is critical that industry collaborate with patient groups and their constituents.”

“Developing new therapies and cures is difficult. It will always be difficult. But if we all work together — patients (which means all of us), the federal government and industry — we will get to our shared goal faster,” Manganiello writes, concluding, “My plea is that this truly be just a first step with many, many more steps to come, as we all go together down the road to cures. [NCATS] gives me, and patients like me across this country something that you can’t put a price tag on — hope (5/8).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.