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CURE ID App Crowdsources Information on Difficult-to-Treat Infections

A new app is intended to crowdsource medical information regarding life-saving interventions with FDA-approved drugs as well as facilitate the development of novel drugs for neglected infectious diseases.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced the launch of a new app that allows clinicians to report novel uses of antibiotics for patients with hard-to-treat infectious diseases.

The app, CURE ID, is intended to crowdsource medical information regarding life-saving interventions with FDA-approved drugs, as well as facilitate the development of novel drugs for neglected infectious diseases. The agency notes that the app is a collaboration between the FDA, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), part of the National Institutes of Health.

In certain circumstances, clinicians may choose to prescribe an approved drug or medical device for an unapproved or uncleared use when it seems medically appropriate for a particular patient. Clinicians can input a simple case report form into the repository using a computer, smartphone, or mobile device.

Logging this information in the app will assist with identifying drug candidates for future research and encourage future drug development. This is important because repurposing already approved drugs can reduce the time and cost of introducing new treatment options for hard-to-treat infections.

“The potential importance of new therapeutic opportunities from repurposing drugs can’t be understated,” Christopher P. Austin, MD, director of NCATS, said in a statement. “The CURE ID platform exemplifies how collaborative efforts can spark innovations that benefit patients. This new platform harnesses the power of crowdsourcing to help gather medical observations in the field and help identify potentially effective treatments for diseases.”

In addition to providing real-world experience information that could bolster the antibiotic pipeline, the app can serve as a collaborative tool for clinicians in the infectious disease community.

The app contains a search function with data from more than 300 different infectious diseases and syndromes. Providers can sort through documented cases including successful and unsuccessful treatments, and access relevant clinical trial information. There is also a forum feature in the app that allows clinicians to engage with colleagues from across the globe. In the future, the FDA hopes to integrate other specialties, including tropical diseases, within the app.

At the point of launch the app contained 1500 detailed case reports and information from 18,000 clinical trials.

“Our hope is that this app will serve as a connector among major treatment centers, academics, private practitioners, government facilities and other health care professionals from around the world and ultimately get treatments to patients faster.” Amy Abernethy, MD, PhD, principal deputy commissioner of the FDA said in the statement.