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Dental School Receives Funds to Study Anti-Tuberculosis Drug

Dr. Nejat Düzgünes will serve as the co-investigator on a $156,749 grant to study an antibiotic that treats tuberculosis.

September  22, 2008

The Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry has been named as a subcontractor for a three-year, $156,749 grant to develop new ways to deliver antibiotics that treat tuberculosis. Dr. Nejat Düzgünes, professor and director of the school's microbiology laboratory, will serve as the co-investigator on the project, which is part of a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases made to Maryland-based biopharmaceutical company Sequella, Inc.

The grant will fund the development of liposome formulations of novel anti-TB drugs used to treat tuberculosis. One of these antibiotics can kill 90 percent of Mycobacterium tuberculosis organisms within a 48-hour period, while one of the most potent anti-TB drugs currently in use kills only about 10 percent.

"Our research will enable this powerful drug to be delivered efficiently to the cells infected with the microorganism," Düzgünes said.

Düzgünes has published extensively on the use of liposomes to help improve the effectiveness of antibiotics to treat diseases caused by an organism similar to tuberculosis. He has collaborated on research to demonstrate the effectiveness of liposomes for aerosol delivery of anti-inflammatory drugs to treat asthma. Düzgünes has also used "smart" liposomes for delivering macromolecular anti-HIV drugs to infected cells.

Author of more than 200 scientific articles and editor of 10 books, Düzgünes is currently an associate editor for the Journal of Bionanoscience. He earned a Ph.D. in biophysical sciences from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1978, and was a National Cancer Institute postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco. 

The project described above is supported by Award Number RA44A1066442 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The content of this release does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases or the National Institutes of Health.

Category Type: Dental Issues and Research

Contact:  Office of Public Relations, 415.929.6434, pr@pacific.edu