Project Updates

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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Short course on medicine quality at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Author: Marya Lieberman

July 4-9, 2016.  London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

The short course is aimed at personnel who are involved and/or interested in medical product quality (medicines, diagnostics, vaccines).  The course will be aimed at global public health issues, and those found in low-, middle- and high-income countries. The course is relevant to those working in regulatory bodies, health decision and funding agencies, international health organisations, academia and the pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical industries.  …

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ND undergraduates participate in PAD research in Eldoret

Author: Marya Lieberman

Notre Dame juniors Tabitha Healy and Paulina Eberts are assisting with the repair of four HPLC systems that will be donated to labs in Africa. They accompanied Prof. Lieberman to Eldoret over the winter break.

Tabitha and Paulina working with one of the Waters HPLC instruments in the drug analysis lab at AMPATH.…

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Nicholas Thurin wins poster award at PINDU

Author: Marya Lieberman

Nicholas Thurin, a senior at Penn High School, presented a poster on his air pollution test card at the Dec. 5, 2015 Purdue-Indiana-Notre Dame University inorganic chemistry conference.  Nick  generated the nitrogen oxides using Ira Remsen's method*, diluted the gases to part-per-million levels, then designed a wax-printed millifluidic test card to expose  dye molecules to nitrogen oxides and measured the resulting color changes.   His poster won the High School Student poster award.  Congratulations Nick!  …

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