The CFIDS Association of America says that $2 million in funding — backed by individual gifts including a $250,000 donation from best-selling writer Laura Hillenbrand, who has chronic fatigue syndrome– is going to grants and projects designed to accelerate the development of treatments for CFS.
One of the new projects: an attempt at so-called drug repurposing, when already-approved drugs for one indication are tried in a different disease.
As the WSJ has reported, drug repurposing is getting a big push from a number of quarters, including the NIH, which is targeting repurposing efforts in rare diseases, and organizations such as the ALS Therapy Development Institute, which recently reported that an approved multiple sclerosis drug appeared to be effective in mice with ALS.
The high cost of developing new therapies has helped drive recent interest in drug repurposing. The concept is that a drug already approved for one condition will cost less and move faster into the clinic if it turns out to also work in a different disease. Nonetheless, at first glance, CFS might seem an unusual condition in which to try drug repurposing.
CFS has no known cause. Doctors usually make the diagnosis by ruling out other problems. Many of the symptoms — including muscle and joint pain, cognitive dysfunction, headaches, and unrefreshing sleep — are very difficult to treat. There is currently no FDA-approved drug for CFS.