Patient groups are in an ideal position to drive drug repurposing projects for several reasons:

  • Patient groups can often independently decide what to fund and can choose to support research not typically funded by industry or the government. This can be particularly advantageous for rare diseases, which are unlikely to receive the same level of investment as common conditions.
  • As patient groups often have more established networks and closer relationships with patients than clinicians, academics or pharmaceutical industry representatives, they are often better equipped to identify potential clinical trial recruitment opportunities.
  • Many patient groups have close relationships with researchers and clinicians, allowing them to drive repurposing projects where government or industry have shown little interest.
  • Patient groups can unite for research funding, and often have crowdsourcing/crowdfunding tools at their disposal.

However, it is worth noting that drug repurposing projects require thorough planning, collaboration and careful consideration of potential roadblocks. This section describes the steps required to organise a drug repurposing project (summarised in the figure below) and details the important considerations at each stage of the project.