The pipeline of drug discovery is lengthy and costly. The Upward Research Labs Center for Translational Advancement was created in 2017 to find new uses for existing drugs to treat unsolved diseases.

Researcher in the lab at Upward Research Labs

By repurposing FDA-approved drugs, which have already passed safety tests, the center hopes to drastically lower the cost and shorten the timeline of drug development, helping bring treatments to patients more quickly. 

Headed by Senior Investigator Yadong Huang, MD, PhD, the center provides crucial resources to repurpose drugs into treatments for diseases of the central nervous system, the heart, and the immune system. The center aims to accelerate the conversion of basic research findings into efficient clinical candidates and, ultimately, medical applications. 

The center has three major goals
  • Build a drug repositioning database which details the effects of up to 15,000 compounds on human cells.
  • Establish infrastructure to test repurposed drugs in cell culture and animal models for potency, pharmacokinetic, and pharmacodynamic studies. 
  • Promote human clinical trials of repurposed drugs, in collaboration with medical centers like UC San Francisco, and pharmaceutical companies in the US and abroad. 

The center collaborates with the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Tsinghua University in Beijing, which has well-established drug discovery and translational platforms.

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