Repurposing Drugs for Alzheimer’s Disease using Electronic Health Records and Modern Data Analytics

Stan Finkelstein, IDSS
Roy Welsch, Sloan School of Management

Finkelstein and Welsch studied the repurposing of FDA-approved drugs in order to identify new uses of medicines. The goal of this ongoing work is to use observational medical and health data, including harnessing large Electronic Health Record (EHR) datasets using modern data analytic methods and tools, to look for clinical signals that drugs currently prescribed for one condition could be beneficial to patients suffering from another condition. This research could speed up drug development and reduce costs and risks in the future.

Finkelstein and Welsch are interested in applying this concept to major remaining medical needs such as dementia and cancer. Their plan is to create simulated or in-silico clinical trials, creating cohorts from the EHR data.

“We have made substantial progress that was accelerated by the IDSS seed grant,” they report, including securing other funding and seeing preliminary data suggesting that a diabetes drug could benefit patients with cancer and/or dementia.

The funding supported Social and Engineering Systems PhD student Marie-Laure Charpignon to work on this project as a research assistant. Researchers also engaged a doctoral student from Mechanical Engineering who completed his SM thesis on this project and will pursue an interdisciplinary degree in data science.



MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Cambridge, MA 02139-4307