Frontiers of health: Durable drugs

By Hilary Parker
July 01, 2007

Fundamental approach targets practical problem

Pablo DebenedettiDesigning effective drugs and vaccines to combat and prevent disease is only half the battle—they also have to be formulated effectively for shipping and storage, which is where Pablo Debenedetti and Athanassios Panagiotopoulos come in.

The chemical engineering professors use a combination of theoretical, computational and experimental techniques to explore how proteins behave in the presence of certain sugars that are often used as stabilizers in pills and other medical formulations. Their work could ultimately lead to better biopreservation practices and capabilities.

Athanassios Panagiotopoulos“Proteins and vaccines are often stored in carbohydrate solutions, and our goal is to provide a fundamental understanding of this process,” Debenedetti said. “It’s a technique that is widely used, but not well understood.”