NIH funds drug-herb interaction research at University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy
CHICAGO — The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy on Wednesday announced that it is the recipient of a five-year, $2.1 million grant to train graduate and postdoctoral students in natural product drugs and dietary supplements. The grant is funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, one of the National Institutes of Health.
“This grant will support the education of the next generation of scientists who will be responsible for establishing the safety and efficacy of dietary supplements and for the discovery of new therapeutic agents from natural product sources,” stated Richard van Breemen, professor of medicinal chemistry and director of the UIC/NIH Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements Research.
Two PhD students — Elizabeth Martinez and Michael Mullowney — were selected as the first recipients of the grant. Both were engaged in other careers before they began studying medicinal chemistry. Martinez was working as an industrial food scientist when she decided it was not satisfying her need to “make an impact on the lives of people.” Mullowney entered the pharmacognosy program after discovering an interest in science while working in illustration and the music recording industry.
Under the direction of van Breemen, Martinez is now studying how to prevent dangerous side effects caused by drug-herb interactions in menopausal women. She tests plant extracts used in the formulation of dietary supplements for potential connections with drugs that are metabolized in the liver by the same enzymes.
Working in the laboratory of Brian Murphy, assistant professor of medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy, Mullowney is attempting to discover leads for new antibiotics in marine and freshwater bacteria — sources that he says have been “largely overlooked by traditional drug discovery programs.”
Merz introduces new Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy packaging
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Merz on Friday announced the introduction of new packaging for its Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy that "addresses major retail challenges."
According to Merz, Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy has one retail facing, is usually on the bottom shelf and is housed among a disparate array of skin care products, all with heavy blocking. It also has a $40 price tag, which is higher than most drug store products, and which also earns it security devices like Lucite keepers and spiders in some stores.
“We have a fantastic product that was often overlooked on shelf because its aesthetic was so quiet,” noted Jessica Wright, associate director of OTC marketing at Merz. “The redesign not only gave Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy a much more premium look; it also works better functionally for the consumer."
“We needed major impact and a huge step forward in terms of perceived quality,” stated John Nunziato, creative director at Little Big Brands, the design firm that assists with the redesign. “From custom structure to material and process upgrades to bold new branding and graphics, every inch of this package was carefully crafted.”
Graphically, the redesign features easily identifiable branding on front, side and top. A bright magenta was selected to add vibrancy when placed on lower store shelves and foil board was selected that has a high concentration of white to address recessiveness. The front panel and tube incorporate fading silver graphics to mimic the smoothing product claims.
When opened, the front flap reveals the tube inside and highlights before/after photography as well as clinical trial results. It is easily kept closed by a small Velcro disc. Logos on the carton were embossed on top, front and side to add extra dimension, depth and reinforce the premium look and feel.
Medical community commends court ruling to make Plan B One-Step available as OTC to women under 17
WASHINGTON — The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine Friday morning commended a U.S. District Court ruling that expands over-the-counter access of Plan B One-Step to women under the age of 17. "This decision reflects the overwhelming evidence that emergency contraception is safe and effective for all women of reproductive age," the medical associations stated as part of a joint statement.
“While pediatricians recommend that teens delay sexual activity until they fully understand its consequences, we strongly encourage the use of contraception—including emergency contraception—to protect the health of our adolescent patients who are sexually active," commented AAP president Thomas McInerny.
“Removing the age restriction is a positive step forward, but providers must continue efforts to educate adolescents about the proper use of emergency contraception," added SAHM president Debra Katzman. "We must also work to ensure that emergency contraception is affordable for adolescents of limited means.”
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