Matthew Adesuyan, University College London
Research project title: Repurposing cardiovascular disease medicines to prevent neurodegenerative diseases: Analyses of electronic health records.
My proposed research is in the field of pharmacoepidemiology. Pharmacoepidemiology is the study of the use and effects of drugs in large numbers of people. It has been described as the bridge between pharmacology and epidemiology and can be used to investigate the beneficial or adverse effect of medications. Drug repurposing is the investigation of old drugs for new purposes. Pharmacoepidemiologic research is well suited to carry out studies pertaining to drug repurposing as it benefits from being low-cost, using real world evidence studies and can generate strong generalisability findings. Particularly for investigations of rare diseases or excluded patient groups.
Neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia are prevalent in older populations, affecting approximately 1 in 23 adults over 65 in England. There are currently no safe and effective drugs to treat or prevent these diseases and current therapy is aimed only at managing symptoms. Evidence from animal studies show that users of medications for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease such as hypertension may be protected against neurodegenerative diseases. This project will use electronic health records from primary care GP practices to investigate whether drugs used for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease are associated with a lower risk of neurodegenerative disease outcomes.
This project will involve working with ‘big data’. I will analyse primary care databases containing pseudo-anonymised information on over 16 million patients in the United Kingdom. For example, patient demographics, diagnoses and prescription information will be available for research purposes within the database. Analysis of this large database will allow me to carry out and publish cohort studies that would not routinely be performed in a randomised controlled trial. For this purpose, I need to become sufficiently trained in a variety of advanced epidemiological study methods and a competent user of the statistical software programme; Stata©.