Chemistry scholar receives patent on drug tracking technique
20 Jan 2015
Dr Kelvin Leung, Assistant Professor of the Department of Chemistry, developed a new analytical platform which is able to sensitively determine and track minute amounts of drug molecules in living organisms. The new drug tracking technique has achieved double the sensitivity of drug detection compared with traditional methods. This technology was granted a patent by the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Taiwan.
The research entitled “Method for inspecting concentration variation of Antrodia Camphorata in organism” led by Dr Kelvin Leung was carried out in collaboration with Professor Di Xin of Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Mainland China and experts from Geneferm Biotechnology, Taiwan. Through the use of a patented detection technique, the technology paves the way for using mass spectrometry to determine and track extremely low levels of drugs in living organisms. The innovation will facilitate Chinese medicine research, especially in the area of pharmacokinetics, and represents a valuable tool for discovering and developing new pharmaceuticals.
Dr Leung said, “In the past, determination of extremely low levels of target drug molecules in living bodies and tracking how these molecules travel through the body has been hampered by the sensitivity of the measuring instrument. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Using this new technique, we have an ultra-sensitive mass detecting device which can detect the mass of specific molecules and follow them in the body. We can determine where they are deposited and when they are metabolised or excreted. The technique successfully detected in rats single chemical molecules derived from a Chinese medicinal herb.” Dr Leung expects that his patented technique will continue to be most valuable in developing pharmaceuticals from natural products, especially herbal medicines.
“Our patented technique can significantly lower the cost of research and drug development for biotechnology firms and drug companies,” added Dr Leung. The reduced cost made possible by his new technique will spur greater research and ultimately benefit consumers through more effective drugs being brought to market more cheaply.
Dr Leung’s team will also apply for patents for related technologies from the Department of Commerce in the US and the State Intellectual Property Office in Mainland China.