Drug Repurposing II

After a long time-awaited return to in-person international conferences, I was delighted to take part in the Drug Repurposing II conference held by the Biochemical Society on 10-11 May 2022. I traveled from the wonderful city of Naples, where I come from, to the theatrical and foreign London for the event It was exciting for me to re-experience this beautiful city that I’ve visited so many times, but I’ll never have enough of! Once I arrived in London I moved to Woburn House, the place where this amazing and interesting conference was held.

As soon as I arrived, after the registration, I attached my poster in my assigned position, as I really couldn’t wait to begin sharing my project! During the lunch I had the chance to meet other the attendees at the meeting. I was pleasantly surprised that my poster drew the attention of many people, and as a result I started to talk about my scientific project before the poster session had even started!

The conference officially started with a series of talks about the commercially available drugs repurposed for different diseases such as COVID-19 and cancer.

These talks were very interesting because all the in vivo experiments were followed by clinical trials with amazing results! Repurposing of drugs is a very useful approach to overcome different issues, particularly for diseases that need a massive and rapid intervention -ust think of the urgency of the pandemic we find ourselves in! Prof. David Cavalla from Exvastat gave a talk about the treatment of pulmonary diseases by a tyrosine kinase inhibitor that really captured my interest.

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After that, I had the chance to explain my project to the audience and to invite them to my poster: mission complete! During the refreshment break and the poster session, I showed my colleagues my results about the pharmacological targeting of CtBP1/BARS protein, using a drug repurposing approach

(Me, presenting my poster)

I had interesting conversations, useful comments, good tips (what to improve, and what to add) and positive feedback from the other attendees. Scientific meetings are stimulating events, that provideuseful opportunties to converse with different people that come from different places and different scientific backgrounds, to improve your ways of thinking about science, and how you go about solving scientific obstacles that usually (let’s be honest: almost always) you will be facing along your way. At the end of the first day of the meeting, we had the conference dinner, where we continued to discuss science and beyond in a friendly and warm atmosphere.

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On the second day, we followed different talks about drug repurposing approaches in different fields such as metabolic, neurological, and infectious diseases. I found it  very stimulating to listen to scientists (academics and non-academics) talking about their projects: how they were born, the state of art, the preliminary results, up to their “evolution”. On these occasions, one has the opportunity to learn about the different approaches used to find an answer to a scientific question..

Regarding this, at the conference we discussed how to set up and carry out a project based on drug repurposing, and (I think, the most difficult topic to solve) how to fund a drug repurposing project. Investors are looking for bold ideas and promising results, and there are many hurdles before the repurposed drug is approved: from the drug safety, the intellectual property, to the difficulty to find financial incentive from the companies.

At the end of the meeting, Prof. Chris Morris announced the winners of the poster prize and I pleasantly discovered that I am among them! It was very exciting for me!!!

(The poster prize winners)

This was one of the best experiences I’ve had during my career in science so far. This meeting helped me to broaden my knowledge and to make new connections for new collaborations.

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Of course, I want to thank the Biochemical Society for providing me the funding to facilitate my travel to the meeting, and the programme co-ordinators for awarding me a poster prize.

. I’d also like to thank the Biochemical Society for giving me the opportunity to write this blog post. I really advise attending scientific meetings because science is sharing, discussing, comparing, and without this you cannot grow.

Miriam Lucariello is a PhD Student from Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli, currently working on her thesis at the Institute of Experimental Endocrinology and Oncology “G. Salvatore” (IEOS-CNR) in Naples.

The Biochemical Society offers bursaries to Full, Early Career, and Student members to help attend Society conferences, training courses, and events! Find out more about these schemes on our website >