“Hidden Figures” in Pharmaceutical Sciences

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By: Henry North and Patrice L. Jackson-Ayotunde

patrice-jackson-finalhnThe story of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson, three of many African American women working at NASA in a segregated section called the West Computers, are featured in the hit movie ”Hidden Figures.” The story of these three women, the brains behind space operations in the ‘60s, impressed numerous people simply because many significant contributions by minorities are left untold. This is also the fate of many African Americans in the pharmaceutical sciences. Here is the story of three African American women who made significant advancements to drug discovery. Continue reading

The History of Pharmaceutical Sciences: Lincoln I. Diuguid and Samuel P. Massie Jr.

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By: Patrice L. Jackson-Ayotunde and Henry North

patrice-jackson-finalhnUniversity of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), a historically black university (HBCU), was founded in 1873 as the Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical & Normal (AM&N) College. UAPB is the second oldest public institution in the state. From its inception to well into the 20th century, UAPB was one of the few colleges for African Americans because the state maintained racial segregation until the mid-1960s. During the early 1940s, two exceptional chemists, Lincoln I. Diuguid and Samuel P. Massie Jr., were young professors and scientists at AM&N (UAPB), cultivating young minds while themselves trying to overcome racial setbacks.  Continue reading

To Be or Not to Be a Whistleblower: That Is the Question

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By: Tiffani N. White

Thtiffani-white_photoe majority of scientists have heard horror stories of retaliation in academic whistleblowing scandals and the major payday for whistleblowers in industry. According to The United States Department of Justice, false claim acts (FCA), or qui tam suits, are growing in number in the U.S. legal system. On average, 13.5 new cases are filed on a weekly basis. Continue reading

Hallucinogenics: Possible Clinical Uses of LSD and Psilocybin

By: David Warmflash

david-warmflashLysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and psilocybin (found in “magic mushrooms”) are currently Schedule 1 drugs, meaning that they have abuse potential and are not considered useful clinically. But researchers actually have been uncovering potential uses for this category of agents, which are called hallucinogenics, because hallucination is one notable effect. These drugs show promise in treating cluster headaches in particular. Additionally, limited evidence suggests a possible role for these agents in treating depression. Continue reading

An Outlook on Oral Peptide Delivery

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By: Sam Maher

maher-headshotOral delivery of therapeutic peptides has been a constant source of frustration for delivery and formulation scientists over the last 50 years. Peptides are poorly absorbed via the oral route due to digestion and poor movement across the gut wall. For a long time the problem was limited to insulin and the non-peptide heparin, but today there are 60+ peptide drugs marketed worldwide, the majority of which are delivered using needles. Effort to enable more convenient oral delivery is associated with a minefield of proof-of-concept delivery systems, which to date have failed to translate into successful oral formulations. The extensive literature on oral peptide delivery has helped to shape specialities such as biopharmaceutics, although the volume of delivery systems that fail to deliver on their promise—especially those that have progressed to clinical testing—has raised concerns about whether peptides can be delivered via the oral route. Continue reading