RWJF Awards a $500,000 Grant to Cures Within Reach to Create World’s First Online Open Access Platform for Rediscovery Research™

    • June 18, 2014

Skokie, Ill.—Cures Within Reach (CWR) has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to create the world's first open-participation research platform to explore whether drugs, devices and nutriceuticals approved for one or more human diseases can be repurposed to create “new” treatments in other diseases. Building on CWR’s successful Rediscovery Research™ model, this online platform will scale up the open-science initiative that speeds the delivery of treatments and cures to patients. The open access online platform is being built in collaboration with the non-profit GlobalCures (GC).

Rediscovery Research is an innovative model to source, peer review and steward medical research that drives repurposed treatments to patients. Rediscovery Research projects quickly bring affordable treatments to patients. While the conventional for-profit “New Discovery” system routinely takes 10 to 14 years and cost $1.5 billion per successful new drug launch, many Rediscovery Research projects can get to patients in as little as 18 to 36 months and for a research cost of less than $250,000.

Eight percent of the world’s population has a life-changing disease for which there is no universally effective therapy. The medical research industry can help only a fraction of patients, annually creating about 30 new drugs or drug improvements. While the rest of the patients are waiting, there are thousands of familiar drugs and devices that have the potential to be repurposed to create new uses that can improve length and quality of life today.

“We desperately need an affordable, scalable and sustainable system to discover medical solutions for these patients,” said Bruce Bloom, DDS, JD, president and chief science officer of CWR, and an Ashoka Social Entrepreneur fellow. “The Rediscovery Research Portal will provide the online platform to bring researchers and clinicians together to exponentially speed up the development and implementation of these Rediscovery Research ideas so they can positively impact more patients.”

“GlobalCures has a system to identify, evaluate, prioritize, and develop promising medical therapies that would otherwise not be explored because of financial considerations.” says Vidula Sukhatme, GC co-founder. “Through the Portal we can quickly make more of these findings available to patients and healthcare providers worldwide.”

In the open-participation portion of Rediscovery Research Portal, called the Commons, access to all stakeholders will be free, and the results of all the research undertaken on the Commons will be made public.   

“Pilot clinical studies can quickly evaluate toxicities and efficacy of repurposed therapies," says Vikas P. Sukhatme, MD, PhD, co-founder of GC, Rediscovery Research Portal Co-Director, and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Once proven safe and useful, these repurposed therapies can be used immediately by physicians and their patients.”

“Cures Within Reach is pioneering a collaborative, open approach to rapidly discover medical solutions for patients who suffer from diseases that currently have no effective treatment,” said Deborah Bae, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Developing new platforms that accelerate medical discovery is an important step in building a national Culture of Health where all people have access to the best possible care.” The RWJF grant will fund the creation of the Rediscovery Research platform but will not be used to conduct any actual medical research.

A beta version of the platform will be unveiled before the end of 2014.

Professional organizations, patient advocacy groups, funders, academic researchers, clinicians, and others interested in participating in the initiative are welcome to



Cures Within Reach is the only disease agnostic philanthropic organization in America exclusively using Rediscovery Research as a fast-track to saving patient lives. CWR has been building organizational alliances across diverse patient-centered stakeholder groups while developing a successful Rediscovery Research model.

CWR medical research projects have generated 12 repurposing treatments making an impact in clinical practice: autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome, familial dysautonomia, Types 1 and 2 diabetes, lung cancer, multiple sclerosis, prostate cancer, myelodysplastic syndrome, and pediatric auto-immune diseases.

CWR will use the Portal and other initiatives to develop new financial incentives to speed the delivery of effective repurposed treatment to patients. Visit us at or follow us via Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube or Facebook.


GlobalCures is a non-profit medical research organization dedicated to curing patients with cancer and other diseases by rapidly promoting clinical research on scientifically promising, readily available and cost-effective treatments. One of GlobalCure’s strategies is to repurpose existing drugs, currently being overlooked for cancer use, due to lack of profitability. Visit us at

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. We are striving to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all Americans to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at

Media Contacts

Melissa Blair

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (609) 627-5937