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Lowe granted new US patent

Development said to be major scientific stride for biotechnology in Jamaica

Sunday, March 22, 2015


RENOWNED Jamaican scientist Dr Henry Lowe was recently granted a new patent by the United States of America Patent Office in his anti-cancer research.

The development is being regarded as a major scientific stride for biotechnology in Jamaica as it relates to the making of a new group of chemical compounds called Dicinnamoyl-Glycerol Esters, which have major anti-cancer activities.

A news release from Lowe's Bio-Tech R&D Institute explained that the new patent -- Number 8907117 -- is titled 'Anti-tumour and Anti-Inflammatory Dicinnamoyl-Glycerol Esters and their Analogues'.

"The making of these new anti-cancer drugs was inspired by the isolation of chemical compounds from the Ball Moss plant, which has been actively pursued over the past 10 years by Dr Lowe and his research team," the news release said. "The synthesis of these anti-cancer drug agents is a first of its kind."

The patent information was recently released, but was formally granted on December 9, 2014, the release explained, adding that the new patent is one of three anti-cancer patents so far granted to Dr Lowe, with an additional five patents undergoing different stages of evaluation prior to the patent award.

"The bioactive isolates are currently undergoing the final stages of preclinical studies to pave the way for clinical trials and drug development," the news release added.

"Since filing for this patent over four years ago, we are pleased to know that it has finally been granted," the release quoted Dr Lowe, who also explained that drug research and development is very expensive and time-consuming.

"The duration of the process is in keeping with drug development from conception to market, which can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years and costs approximately US$1 billion to US$1.5 billion," Dr Lowe said.

This, he added, is particularly burdensome for scientists in developing countries like Jamaica, where resources are limited and the filing and maintenance of patents are very expensive.

The company noted that Dr Lowe and his colleague scientists -- Dr Joseph Bryant and Dr Ngeh Toyang from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, as well as Dr Charah Watson of Bio-Tech R&D -- are particularly encouraged by the news that their work has been regarded as "exceptionally outstanding".

"The team has published 17 original peer reviewed articles in renowned scientific journals as at the end of 2014. Since then, a number of new manuscripts have been completed and are awaiting review and publication," the news release said. "The publications for 2015 are expected to far exceed those of 2014 and will help to make the Jamaican scientific endeavours outstanding."

The Bio-Tech R&D Institute in collaboration with the University of Maryland School of Medicine is primarily focused on cancer research as well as diabetes and HIV/AIDS.

Recently, the institute joined Lowe's new company, Medicanja, in leading research and development of Cannabis for medicinal and commercial projects and programmes in Jamaica, which, Bio-Tech R&D said, "are expected to significantly impact scientific and clinical development, as well as economic benefits to Jamaica".