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Press Release

Contact:
Chriss Swaney
412-268-5776

For immediate release:
October 21, 2004

Carnegie Mellon University Researchers To Showcase New Materials To Aid New Pharmaceutical Discovery and Improve Affordability

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University chemical engineering researchers will show Senator Arlen Specter new high-tech equipment and new materials being developed to create more economical and purer drugs for use by physicians and consumers.

Specter, chairman of the Senate Labor, Health & Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, will join Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon; Pradeep Khosla, dean of the College of Engineering; and Andy Gellman, head of the Department of Chemical Engineering, to tour several labs where new solid surfaces are being created to help the pharmaceutical industry and the American consumer benefit from nanotechnology research.

The lab tour will feature demos and hands-on research designed to show how Carnegie Mellon researchers have developed a new platform for helping drug makers distinguish and separate "left-handed" and "right-handed" drugs. The design, synthesis and separation of purely left-handed or purely right-handed drug molecules is critical to the performance of certain drugs like thalidomide and many others. Thalidomide was prescribed to pregnant women as a sedative and treatment of morning sickness. The left-handed component of the drug had a proven therapeutic track record. Tragically, however, the right-handed molecules of the drug were eventually linked to physical birth defects.

Using ultra-high vacuum chambers, Carnegie Mellon researchers have created new surfaces that can aid pharmaceutical giants like Merck to speed up essential drug discovery steps and allow drug production at more economical prices.

WHEN: 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22.

WHERE: Doherty Hall, Lab B202, Carnegie Mellon University.

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