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US grants likely cancer cure patent to Jamaican scientist

Published:Monday | March 23, 2015 | 12:00 AMGary Spaulding Senior Gleaner Writer

The United States of America Patent Office has granted to a Jamaican, a patent relating to the novel synthesis which is believed to possess anti-cancer activities.

The patent is on the making of a new group of chemical compounds called Dicinnamoyl-Glycerol Esters and their analogues, which have major anti-cancer activities.

The patent number, 8907117, titled Anti-tumor and Anti-Inflammatory Dicinnamoyl-Glycerol Esters and their Analogues, was granted to noted Jamaican scientist, Dr. Henry Lowe, Executive Chairman of Bio-Tech R&D Institute.

The new anti-cancer drugs were inspired by the isolation of chemical compounds from the Ball Moss plant, which have been actively pursued by Lowe and his research team over the past 10 years.

The synthesis of these anti-cancer drug agents is being described as a first of its kind. The patent information was recently released, but was formally granted on December 9, 2014.

It is one of three anti-cancer patents so far granted to Lowe, with an additional five 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.

Lowe said filing for the patent was done more than four years ago. “We are pleased to know that it has finally been granted,” he said.

Lowe said 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 10-15 years and costs approximately US$1 to US$1.5 billion, he explained.

Added Lowe: “This 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 Lowe-led biomedical research team, working through the Bio-Tech R&D Institute in collaboration with the University of Maryland School of Medicine, is constantly distinguishing itself as the leading biomedical research and development group in the region. 

The group is primarily focused on cancer research as well as diabetes and HIV/Aids.  Recently, it joined the new company Medicanja in leading research and development of cannabis (ganja) for medicinal and commercial projects and programmes in Jamaica, which are expected to significantly impact scientific, clinical development as well as bring economic benefits to Jamaica.