Purdue University chemistry professor creates device to combat cancer drug cost

A Purdue University professor is working to resolve the issue of cancer drug shortages. This could mean more money in the pocket for cancer patients and their families.

Posted: Nov 10, 2019 11:53 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — A Purdue University professor is working to resolve the issue of cancer drug shortages. This could mean more money in the pocket for cancer patients and their families.

“This is our bike with training wheels, this is our way to essentially learn how to do continuous manufacture,” said Purdue University Department of Chemistry Professor David H. Thompson.

Continuous drug manufacturing may lie within this professor's cancer drug machine. Thompson said it could be more effective than what's currently being done.

“What's typically done right now for making pharmaceutical ingredients, which is stopping at step one, doing an analysis, a verification then moving on to step two that's much more, I guess segmented,” said Thompson.

While this process is thorough, manufacturing a drug in segments can be costly. Thompson's device will work to build the drug using one machine, he compares the process to a conveyor belt.

“The output of the first step is going directly into the second step and the output of the second step is going directly into the third step and so that it's continuous and the crystalline drug product is what comes out the end of this process,” said Thompson.

Thompson said there are several drugs in the U.S. that are partially produced using a continuous method. But his device could be the first fully synthesized machine if it gets FDA approval.

“What the FDA wants to see is that it's safe, that it's pure and that it's safe,” said Thomspon.

Right now Professor Thompson and his class are testing a cancer drug called Lomustine. It's used to battle brain cancer. So far, they're finding success.

“To go from having no idea about what the molecule was to actually produce it at a rate of the equivalent of one dose every two hours,” said Thompson.

Thompson said the machine is able to make enough in one-hour to treat a cancer patient for a six-week regimen. He believes this testing process will take another year before they move on to clinical trials.

Lomustine is a cancer drug on the FDA shortage list. Once they're testing on this drug passes, they're looking to test the other drugs on the list including, dexamethasone, dexrazoxane, leucovorin, and methotrexate.

West Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 68°
Kokomo
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 66°
Rensselaer
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 66°
Fowler
Partly Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 68°
Williamsport
Partly Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 68°
Crawfordsville
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 66°
Frankfort
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 66°
Delphi
Partly Cloudy
69° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 69°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
67° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 67°
Logansport
Partly Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 64°
Few Showers & T'Showers Then Cooler...
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1001697

Reported Deaths: 16370
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1349142114
Lake660941157
Allen57517796
Hamilton46157464
St. Joseph44155608
Elkhart35752508
Vanderburgh32119478
Tippecanoe27824258
Johnson24961444
Hendricks23767355
Porter22833364
Madison18662406
Clark18449252
Vigo17379302
Monroe15205198
LaPorte15077250
Delaware15006260
Howard14647288
Kosciusko12235147
Hancock11639175
Bartholomew11517179
Warrick11264189
Floyd11040214
Wayne10918252
Grant10000218
Morgan9427176
Boone8874116
Dubois8240131
Dearborn818193
Henry8154152
Noble7985106
Marshall7854134
Cass7510120
Lawrence7414170
Shelby7160117
Jackson694688
Gibson6534113
Harrison645891
Huntington635399
Knox6299106
DeKalb627699
Montgomery6214109
Miami590598
Putnam576278
Clinton571371
Whitley561555
Steuben557075
Wabash5289103
Jasper526677
Jefferson507596
Ripley496886
Adams476875
Daviess4632113
Scott436672
Greene422496
Wells421788
Clay420660
White416964
Decatur4139101
Fayette404987
Jennings385260
Posey375343
LaGrange354978
Washington354049
Randolph342599
Spencer337642
Fountain332658
Sullivan327452
Starke314069
Owen312770
Fulton307767
Orange292063
Jay282245
Perry264752
Franklin264542
Carroll259832
Rush259532
Vermillion256454
Parke230026
Pike228143
Tipton227059
Blackford191141
Pulaski182056
Crawford158823
Newton156648
Benton150217
Brown145247
Martin137419
Switzerland134311
Warren120616
Union106916
Ohio84212
Unassigned0538

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events