Vital research aiming to help millions of patients

Katherine Stutz

Published on 26 July 2018

Vital research work which aims to help millions of patients struggling to take their medication has won praise from a pharmaceutical giant.

The University of Sunderland has been working on developing and formulating fast disintegrating tablets to help people who are currently unable to swallow medicines in a conventional way.

Now the research has caught the attention of Mylan Pharmaceuticals Ltd UK who have praised a recent Sunderland graduate for her work in the field.

Former MA Pharmacy student Katherine Stultz worked with University of Sunderland senior lecturer Dr Amal Ali Elkordy on the research.

 Dr Elkordy said: “One of the challenges for scientists in the development of drugs is patient compliance.

 “Importantly, for patients who find difficulty in swallowing conventional tablets or using inhalers, fast disintegrating tablets may be a good solution to deliver drugs through the mouth effectively.”

 As part of her final year project, Katherine worked with Dr Elkordy on developing the disintegrating tablets that retain all the important properties whilst dissolving quickly.

 Katherine said: “While there are disintegrating tablets already out there. My aim was to improve on these – essentially to optimise how they worked.”

The research saw Katherine awarded a prize as one of the finalists in the MGR Award competition run by Mylan Pharmaceuticals Ltd UK. The graduate, who this summer starts a job as a pre-register pharmacist at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, was then given the opportunity to present her work at the company’s Sandwich site in Kent.

 Dr Amal Ali Elkordy, reader in pharmaceutics at the University of Sunderland, said: "The project research on tablets in general and fast disintegrating tablets specifically is important because tablets are the most convenient dosage forms from a patient point of view for easy administration and compliance and from an industrial perspective for cost effectiveness and economic production."

Dr. Jane Burrows, from the MGR Award Team, said: "Mylan created the Mylan Global Respiratory Award to recognise scientific excellence in final year life sciences undergraduates. As a global pharmaceutical company whose mission is to provide the world's 7 billion people access to high quality medicine, it's important that we acknowledge the value of those who will go on to become part of the future within our industry and for some, the future of Mylan.”

The research will be continued at the University of Sunderland this year by another pharmacy undergraduate.