Method for direct treatment of intestinal illnesses wins prize for Hebrew University student

06/27/04

A method for applying drugs directly to mucousal surfaces in the intestinal system has won a coveted prize for a graduate student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The method has potential for providing better treatment for such diseases as ulcerative colitis and colon cancer.

The student is Tareq Jubeh, 30, of Jerusalem, who is working on his Ph.D. in the Department of Pharmaceutics at the Hebrew University School of Pharmacy under the supervision of Prof. Abraham Rubinstein and Prof. Yechezkel Barenholz.

Jubeh, married and the father of one child, was born in Jerusalem. He received his bachelor degree in pharmacy at the Applied Science University in Amman, Jordan, graduating first in his class in pharmaceutical sciences.

He received one of the Kaye Innovation Awards during the 67th meeting of the Hebrew University Board of Governors in June. The Kaye Awards have been given annually since 1993. Isaac Kaye of England, a prominent industrialist in the pharmaceutical industry, established the awards to encourage faculty, staff, and students of the Hebrew University to develop innovative methods and inventions with good commercial potential which will benefit the university and society.

The Kaye Award is the latest of a number of prizes won by Jubeh since coming to the Hebrew University School of Pharmacy in 1998, where he has earned a master's degree and now serves as a teaching assistant. He previously won two awards for his work in teaching and supervision in pharmaceutics and industrial pharmacy courses, and earlier this year was awarded a prize for excellence in research carried out by Ph.D. students.

The technology developed by Jubeh is based on a novel liposomal delivery system which involves direct introduction via the rectum of a drug-containing liposomal suspension into the colon. Liposomes are microscopic or submicrosopic, sac-like membranic structures into which drugs can be encapsulated. These liposomal formulations have been shown to be effective in delivering drugs to the mucousal (interior) surfaces of the colon and small intestine.

A major element in this success was Jubeh's discovery that the intestinal surface, which normally carries a negative electrical charge, changes to positive when there is an inflammation. Jubeh, therefore, designed liposomes that carry a counter (negative) charge, thereby creating electrostatic adhesion to the inflamed area and promoting healing. Further, he designed liposomal formulations with the ability to remain for predetermined, prolonged periods of times on the intestinal surfaces.

Jubeh is now planning to work towards perfecting an orally induced version of his drug-bearing liposomes in order to produce a non-invasive application.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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