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Health News Thu, 20 May 2010

Ghanaian pharmacist to roll out new cancer drug

Accra, May 20, GNA - Dr Peter Atadja, a Ghanaian Pharmacist is developing an anti-cancer therapy that would hit the market next year. The drug, which is at the trial stages, is awaiting certification from the World Health Organisation before it would be branded.

This was disclosed by Mr Maxwell Atadja, Chief Executive Officer of Life Door Pharmacy and Mr Patrick Amponsah- Frempah, Medical Representative of the company to the Ghana News Agency, in Accra on Wednesday, during the launching of the current trends in the treatment of malaria in collaboration with Lupin Limited, a leading India multi- national pharmaceutical company. Dr Atadja who was the brain behind Life Door Pharmacy, a Ghanaian limited liability company was a product of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. While in Israel, he made critical contributions to the pioneering work of his mentors Professors Alex Levitzki and Michael Chorev in the designing and developing of first-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitors (Tyrphostins) for anti-cancer therapy.

This work was recognized with his Masters of Science degree, (Magna Cum Laude) in Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry and the Hebrew University's Michael Sherwood Prize for graduate research.

Peter Atadja obtained his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Oncology from the University of Calgary, Canada, where his research yielded important fundamental observations in molecular mechanisms of cellular senescence and their linkage with tumor suppressor pathways.

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In 1997, he joined Novartis Pharmaceuticals in New Jersey to work on their efforts to develop drugs that target epigenetic mechanisms for anti-cancer therapy.

Dr Atadja's productive research at Novartis has led to the development of LBH589, a histone deacetylase inhibitor that was discovered and developed preclinically in his laboratory, which has shown dramatic responses in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and is now undergoing further clinical development in additional hematologic and solid malignancies. He is currently a Group Leader and Senior Research Investigator at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical.

Professor Fred Binka, a lecturer at the Ghana Medical School of the University of Ghana (UG) Legon, observed that the fight against malaria has been recognised worldwide, adding that the disease is treatable and preventable and must not be allowed to kill anybody. Stressing on the home management of malaria, he said since people could diagnose the disease, it is important that they are allowed to treat it. He said Ghana is adopting a new approach for the treatment of diseases that would facilitate contact with producers of potent drugs worldwide, to ensure the payment of the investment they made into the manufacturing of their products so that they would not prolong the patent period. Dr Obeng Adjei of the Centre for Tropical Clinical Pharmacology and Thereupatics, of the UG, who gave a presentation on "Current trends in the treatment of malaria- the Ghanaian context", tasks researchers to come out with a malaria drugs that could well manage hypertensive patients and People Living with HIV/AIDS.

Source: GNA