Veripad selected for 2017 Mass Challenge Accelerator program

Author: Marya Lieberman

PAD commercialization takes another step towards reality.   Veripad joins 127 other startup companies in this prestigious startup accelerator's 2017 class.  Over 5,000 applications were evaluated.  In addition to support and mentoring, the team will have access to a premium makerspace and research lab that will be a great starting point for manufacturing prototyping and lane chemistry development.  …

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Margaret Berta explains how data sharing helps with analysis of medicines from the developing world

Author: Marya Lieberman

Hesburgh Libraries and the Center for Research Computing convened a workshop May 1 and 2, 2017, to discuss how libraries can faciliate preservation and sharing of data.  These tasks are more and more important for researchers in the digital age.  Margaret Berta gave a nice example of how her research uses Open Science Framework to enable students at 18 different institutions to collaborate on pharmaceutical analysis problems.  The electronic site is used to distribute shared experimental protocols, upload electronic lab notebooks, review results and calculations in a secure and private manner, and archive data and workflows for publication.    …

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Sarah Bliese wins 4 year Naughton Fellowship

Author: Marya Lieberman

Chemistry graduate student Sarah Bliese plans to make a difference in the health of people all over the world through her 2017 Naughton Graduate Fellowship.  Air pollutants cause thousands of deaths each year.  However, in much of the developing world, technological infrastructure for collecting even basic measurements about air quality is absent, so regulators have little to act upon. Only 10 of the 47 countries in sub-Saharan Africa have even a single air quality monitoring station reporting to WHO today.  Sarah will develop and test a new type of sensor network. The network uses small numbers of  sensor pods to calibrate hundreds of inexpensive paper test cards that can be deployed by citizen scientists--even by high school students.  

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Troy HS demos PADs

Author: Marya Lieberman

Quinn Favret and Arnav Ramu at Troy HS in Michigan worked on a project to solve the problem of counterfeit drugs and came across the PAD project.  We sent them some samples to show in their presentation.  Good luck to these young problem solvers!  …

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PADs in Bangladesh?

Author: Marya Lieberman

The national quality control lab for pharmaceuticals in Bangladesh is a busy site; the photo shows dissolution testing in progress.  Prof. Lieberman visited in mid-March to discuss use of PADs as a component of risk-based quality screening.  Although the lab in Dhaka is fully modern and another lab in Chittagong is also set up for pharmacopeia assays, there are many inspectors who work in areas which are not as well equiped.  For these inspectors, PADs could help in determining which samples are most important for full lab analysis.  …

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New blog to watch

Author: Marya Lieberman

Ght Blog Logo

This blog  focuses on new technologies with potential to impact global heath.  The PAD project is highlighted in the 14 Nov. 2016 posting.

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Nick's fast pitch on iodine nutrition brings him $1,000

Author: Marya Lieberman

Nicholas Myers pitched the saltPAD at the Micronutrient Forum in Cancun Mexico, explaining how this simple paper device could help program managers monitor iodine nutrition.  He won second prize, out of a field of 70 entrants from 18 countries.  The pitch was repeated in 1 minute format at the gala dinner attended by all 700 conference attendees. Kudos to Nick!  …

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Jamie Luther wins poster prize at MUACC

Author: Marya Lieberman

Jamie Luther presented a poster at the October 12 MUACC meeting at the University of Illinios Urbana-Champaign and received a poster prize from the assembled analytical chemists.  The poster described the "milkPAD" she is developing to detect adulteration of dairy milk, a bit of unsavory product manipulation that was quite familiar to Henry Thoreau.  …

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Trouble in Chinese regulatory system

Author: Marya Lieberman

Derek Lowe's blog "In the Pipeline" reports on a story about massive problems in regulatory oversight of drug approval in China.  

A report in the Chinese newspaper Economic Information Daily says that the Chinese SFDA (State Food and Drug Administration) has been conducting a review of Chinese clinical trial practices, and after reviewing 1,622 trials has found that most of them are seriously flawed. And by “seriously flawed”, they mean “largely faked”. 

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ACS press conference on PAD project

Author: Marya Lieberman

Marya Lieberman and Sarah Bliese were invited to give a press conference at the  252nd National ACS meeting in Philadelphia.  We described how PADs can help to address the flood of low quality drugs now swamping developing countries and answered lots of questions;  view the whole thing here

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MITI health battles poor quality drugs in Kisumu region

Author: Marya Lieberman

MITI Health was started by Stanford medical student Jessica Vernon as a way to provide high quality medicines to pharmacists in Kenya.  The PAD project and AMPATH are partners with MITI Health;  we help them conduct confirmatory assays on suspicious products.   This KQED news piece describes how a simple app enables pharmacists to buy high quality products.  …

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Problems in Kenyan Pharmacy and Poisons Board?

Author: Marya Lieberman

Business Daily Africa reports on a whistleblower's claims that in exchange for bribes, the Pharmacy and Poisons board issued permits for non-registered suppliers to import low-quality drugs into Kenya between 2005 and 2011.  The Chief Registrar is implicated in the claims.  We'll be following this story.  …

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SMC press release on PAD patent

Author: Marya Lieberman

July 26, 2016 (Notre Dame, Ind.) — The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued US Patent No. 9,354,181 to researchers at Saint Mary’s College and the University of Notre Dame who together developed user-friendly devices that detect low-quality pharmaceuticals. It is Saint Mary’s first patent and the first for two of the three professors. These unique Paper Analytical Devices (PADs) can detect multiple chemical components in a pill or capsule, including substitute drugs or “fillers” that may be added in place of an active ingredient.…

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REU students return from Kenya trip

Author: Marya Lieberman

Muriel Mcclendon (Chicago State University), Sarah Bliese (Hamline College), and Albert Vargas (UND) spent two weeks in Eldoret and Nairobi as part of the Analytical Chemistry REU program.  Muriel worked on a quantitative paper test card for antibiotics and gave a presentation at Eldoret University, Sarah helped repair an HPLC and performed system suitability testing for amoxycillin analysis, and Albert worked on a test card for air pollutants and generally helped out.…

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PAD patent issued

Author: Marya Lieberman

US Patent 9,354,181, Analytical devices for detection of low-quality pharmaceuticals, was issued May 31, 2016, to Toni Barstis, Patrick Flynn, and Marya Lieberman.  

Toni, Pat, and Marya are grateful to Allan Fanucci at Winstrom & Strawn LLP, who acted for us and provided most valuable guidance through the patent maze, and to Karen Deak at Notre Dame who helped us understand the process.  …

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VWR supports PAD project

Author: Marya Lieberman

Prof. Lieberman is very pleased to report that she has received financial backing from VWR International, a global laboratory supplier and distributor of chemicals, consumables, equipment, and instruments. Through their relationship with Notre Dame, VWR is providing Prof. Lieberman with $10,000 per year of chemicals and consumables for the lab, which will support efforts to identify fake medications in Kenya and other countries in East Africa. A big thank you to VWR for their interest in and support of this important project.…

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Pathology of Negligence: Report on Batch J093

Author: Marya Lieberman

In the third week of September, 2011, a worker loaded white powders from drums and plastic bags into a mixing machine at Efonze Chemical Industries to produce Batch J093 of a drug called Isotab.  It had been ordered by a cardiac clinic in Pakistan.  One of the drums, labeled as pre-gelatinized starch, was probably filled with pyrimethamine.  A batch of this antimalarial medicine had arrived in a moldy container earlier in the month and been transferred to a blue drum, the same type of drum used to hold starch.  Perhaps no-one updated the label.  In any case, over 20 Kg of pyrimethamine was somehow added to the batch of isosorbide mononitrate.  Each heart pill that was pressed contained over 50 mg of this drug in addition to the intended active ingredient;  patients who took the heart medicine would receive doses of 100-150 mg pyrimethamine per day.    The recommended dose of pyrimethamine is just 25 mg per week.  The consequences to hundreds of Pakistanis would be devastating.  

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Lab is now well EQUIPped

Author: Marya Lieberman

In order to determine whether a population is receiving enough iodine in their food, it's necessary to measure this micronutrient in urine samples.  The analysis is very difficult because the concentrations are so low--between 10 and 500 parts per billion.  

The Centers for Disease Control has certified our lab for analysis of urinary iodide.  Certification by the EQUIP (Ensuring the Quality of Urinary Iodide Procedures) program requires three sucessive quarters of successful assays of unknown samples that are provided by CDC, including replicate measurements and interoperator precision.  Kudos to Nick Myers, who has been the lead analyst for this challenging task.  …

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