Utilising formulation strategies to enhance the pharmaceutical properties of novel fluorescent probes to be used for clinical imaging and treatment of brain tumour
Dr Jiney Jose
Dr Peter Choi
Dr Thomas Park
Project code: MHS016
Glioblastoma, also known as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), is the most malignant of glial tumors that begin within the brain. It has a very poor prognosis with a median survival period of 12-15 months (1). The project aims to explore novel near infra-red emitting heptamethine cyanine dyes (HMCDs) for inhibition of brain cancer cell lines. HMCDs also possess cytotoxic properties and therefore have the potential to be developed as target specific anticancer drugs. However, due to the highly hydrophobic properties, the dye molecules are insoluble in pharmaceutically acceptable solvents which limits its effective clinical use. It is hypothesized that by adopting the principles of formulation science an appropriate formulation for HMCDs can be designed, with the ability to permeate blood-brain barrier followed by accumulation in the tumor tissue.
Note: For Pharmacy students
The safety of medicinal plants used in the treatment of vitiligo and hypermelanosis: a systematic review of use and reports of harms
Project code: MHS163
Background: The pigmentation disorders vitiligo (hypopigmentation) and melasma (hypermelanosis) are common among the world’s population (around 1% for vitiligo). The use of natural health products (complementary/alternative medicines) for chronic health conditions is common, and individuals may seek this approach for treatment of vitiligo and melasma. Several medicinal plants have been used traditionally to treat or prevent vitiligo and melasma, and natural health products are promoted for use in these conditions. Evidence relating to the efficacy of medicinal plants used in the treatment of vitiligo and hypermelanosis has been subject to systematic review: evidence to support the efficacy of medicinal plants for these conditions is very limited.1,2 The safety profile of medicinal plants used in the treatment of vitiligo and hypermelanosis has undergone less scrutiny. Thus, this project will focus on exploring reports relating to possible harms associated with medicinal plants used in the treatment of vitiligo and hypermelanosis.
To identify medicinal plants used in the treatment of vitiligo and hypermelanosis and their methods of preparation for such use
To undertake a systematic literature review on harms associated with the use of medicinal plants used in the treatment of vitiligo and hypermelanosis
To review and summarise information on reported adverse drug
reactions (ADRs) associated with these medicinal plants contained in (where access is available) national and global individual case safety report databases (i.e. the WHO Vigibase database and other spontaneous reporting schemes for adverse drug reactions).
Systematic reviews of the literature using biomedical databases, including (but not limited to) Medline, EMBASE, Scopus, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts and so forth to identify medicinal plants used in the treatment of vitiligo and hypermelanosis, and data on harms associated with their use. Other sources will also be used to identify medicinal plants recommended or promoted for use in the treatment of vitiligo and hypermelanosis, such as medicinal plant textbooks and similar (e.g. pharmacopoeias), websites discussing possible treatments for vitiligo/hypermelanosis, and so forth.
Systematic searches of other databases containing data from spontaneous reporting schemes for adverse drug reactions, such as EudraVigilance (the European database of suspected ADR reports), SMARS (Suspected Medicine Adverse Reaction Scheme (NZ), and so forth. The supervisor will undertake searches in WHO Vigibase database (the WHO’s individual case safety report database) using VigiLyze (the search and analysis tool of VigiBase™, the WHO global individual case safety report (ICSR) database.
1. Szczurko O, Boon HS. A systematic review of natural health product treatment for vitiligo. BMC Dermatology 2008;8:2
2. Fisk WA et al. The use of botanically derived agents for hyperpigmentation: a systematic review. J Am Acad Dermatol 2014;70(2):352-365
The student will learn:
General research skills eg designing literature search strategies, conducting literature searches, evaluating scientific literature, scientific writing
Developing methods for and undertaking extraction, storage and analysis of data from sources other than scientific databases eg publicly available websites
Undertaking causality assessment for reported ADRs using tools such as the WHO UMC causality assessment criteria.
Determining a stable omeprazole suspension
Project code: MHS196
Omeprazole is available as capsules or powder for suspension in New Zealand, however there is no commercially available oral liquid preparation (1). For patients with swallowing difficulties, including younger children, omeprazole suspensions are extemporaneously compounded (2). The funded brand of omeprazole changes with time. Our preliminary data have demonstrated that some brands are compounded relatively easily into an acceptable suspension, while other brands are troublesome to compound (including the powder for suspension). In this project we will prepare and evaluate omeprazole suspensions compounded using different brands and forms of omeprazole. We will then determine the physical and chemical stability of the acceptable omeprazole suspensions (2).
1) To prepare and evaluate omeprazole suspensions compounded from different brands of omeprazole capsules or powder for suspension
2) To determine the physical and chemical stability of the acceptable omeprazole suspensions
3) To determine a standardised formula and method for compounding omeprazole suspension.
Suspensions will be compounded from all suitable brands and forms of omeprazole available in New Zealand, regardless of current funding status. These suspensions will be evaluated for uniformity of dose, sedimentation rate, sedimentation volume ratio and ease of resuspension.
The chemical and physical stability of acceptable omeprazole suspensions will then be determined for up to 30 days at 4 ?C and 22 ?C. Following data collection and analysis, a standardised formula will be determined for compounding omeprazole suspension in New Zealand.
1. Online Pharmaceutical Schedule. PHARMAC. Available at: https://www.pharmac.govt.nz/Schedule. Accessed 30 Nov 2017.
2. Garg S, Svirskis D, Al-Kabban M, Farhan S, Komeshi M, Lee J, Liu Q, Naidoo S. Chemical stability of extemporaneously compounded omeprazole formulations: a comparison of two methods of compounding. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Compounding 2009 May;13(3):250.
Pharmacists’ expanding roles in the primary health care setting: Perspectives of NZ hospital pharmacy managers
The Pharmacy Action Plan 2016-20 has a vision of NZ pharmacists working in a broader variety of settings, and for their medicines management expertise to be fully recognised and utilised by healthcare teams (1). The Plan also wants pharmacists to be able to access professional development pathways in order to retain and attract pharmacists, and increase the capacity of the pharmacy workforce possessing the appropriate skill mix to support new models of care and offer higher-level medicines management services.
This project seeks to explore hospital pharmacy managers’ views of pharmacists expanding their roles in the NZ primary health care setting.
To identify and describe the expanded roles in primary care that are available to pharmacists internationally.
To investigate where and how hospital pharmacy managers think pharmacist-led medicines management services should be provided in primary care.
To understand what hospital pharmacy managers think the role hospital pharmacy has, with respect to expanded roles of pharmacists in primary care.
To understand what hospital pharmacy managers perceive as necessary education, training and experience requirements for pharmacists who hold expanded clinical roles in primary care.
This is quite a comprehensive project and you will learn about reviewing literature, survey administration, telephone interviewing using a semi-structured interview guide, transcribing, qualitative and quantitative data analysis and report writing.
Please note that only current BPharm students are eligible to apply for this project.
"Lost to the Pharmacy Profession"
The Pharmacy Action Plan 2016-20 has a vision of NZ pharmacists working in a broader variety of settings. It also seeks to retain and attract pharmacists possessing the appropriate skill mix to support the expansion and development of new models of care and offer higher-level medicines management services. Not all BPharm graduates in New Zealand become registered pharmacists and not all who register as pharmacists with the Pharmacy Council of NZ remain part of the pharmacy workforce. Exploring the reasons why pharmacists decide to leave the profession is important for workforce planning to meet population needs and to inform BPharm recruitment strategies, curricula and the content of post graduate papers.
This project seeks to explore the characteristics of, and perspectives on, pharmacy as a career of those NZ BPharm graduates from who have left or who are seriously considering leaving the pharmacy profession in the next few years.
The aims of the project are to:
To explore the scale of the loss and potential loss to the profession
To determine the characteristics of those who have left or are considering leaving the pharmacy profession
To explore the reasons for leaving or considering leaving the pharmacy profession
To determine where those who have left are now working and/or what career are they now working towards
To explore what would need to change in the profession for them to stay/have stayed/recommend pharmacy to others.
Skills that the student will develop are; literature searching, survey development and administration, quantitative and qualitative data analysis and report writing.