Dr Kelvin Leung develops a new drug tracking technique which is able to sensitively track trace amounts of drug molecules in living organisms


梁士賢博士研發新技術,可準確地檢測生物體內微量藥物的濃度。

Date: 20 Jan 2015 (Tuesday)

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Chemistry scholar receives patent on drug tracking technique

化學系學者研藥物檢測科技獲專利 助準確檢測體內藥物濃度

Dr Kelvin Leung, Assistant Professor of the Department of Chemistry, developed a new analytical platform which is able to sensitively determine and track minute amounts of drug molecules in living organisms. The new drug tracking technique has achieved double the sensitivity of drug detection compared with traditional methods. This technology was granted a patent by the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Taiwan.

The research entitled “Method for inspecting concentration variation of Antrodia Camphorata in organism” led by Dr Kelvin Leung was carried out in collaboration with Professor Di Xin of Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Mainland China and experts from Geneferm Biotechnology, Taiwan. Through the use of a patented detection technique, the technology paves the way for using mass spectrometry to determine and track extremely low levels of drugs in living organisms. The innovation will facilitate Chinese medicine research, especially in the area of pharmacokinetics, and represents a valuable tool for discovering and developing new pharmaceuticals.

Dr Leung said, “In the past, determination of extremely low levels of target drug molecules in living bodies and tracking how these molecules travel through the body has been hampered by the sensitivity of the measuring instrument. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Using this new technique, we have an ultra-sensitive mass detecting device which can detect the mass of specific molecules and follow them in the body. We can determine where they are deposited and when they are metabolised or excreted. The technique successfully detected in rats single chemical molecules derived from a Chinese medicinal herb.” Dr Leung expects that his patented technique will continue to be most valuable in developing pharmaceuticals from natural products, especially herbal medicines.

“Our patented technique can significantly lower the cost of research and drug development for biotechnology firms and drug companies,” added Dr Leung. The reduced cost made possible by his new technique will spur greater research and ultimately benefit consumers through more effective drugs being brought to market more cheaply.

Dr Leung’s team will also apply for patents for related technologies from the Department of Commerce in the US and the State Intellectual Property Office in Mainland China.

化學系助理教授梁士賢博士成功研發「檢測樟芝於生物體內濃度變化的方法」,新技術可準確地檢測並追蹤生物體內極微量的藥物濃度,比較傳統檢測方法靈敏度增加超過一倍,此項檢測技術獲得台灣經濟部授予專利權。

梁士賢博士領導的科研小組,聯同內地瀋陽藥科大學邸欣教授的團隊及台灣金穎生物科技股份有限公司科研人員進行研究,將中藥樟芝萃取物等從生物體血漿中萃取出來,再使用經改良的液相層析串聯質譜系統技術,精確分析並檢測動物體內極微量的樟芝濃度。新技術有望促進中藥科研,特別是藥物動力學(體內藥物的吸收、分佈與代謝),為研發新藥物提供了一個重要的方法。

梁博士說﹕「傳統檢測和追蹤生物體內極微量的藥物分子的方法像『海底撈針』,往往受到儀器的靈敏度影響結果。我們研發的新技術,透過超靈敏的質譜系統,偵測指定藥物分子的質量(mass),並追蹤藥物分子在身體內的路徑,可檢測藥物何時沉澱、代謝或排出體外。新技術率先應用於一種源自中藥植物的單體化學分子。」梁博士期望此項專利技術可應用到開發天然成份(特別是草本藥)的藥物。

他補充說﹕「該專利技術有助顯著減低生物科技公司或藥物公司研發藥物的成本。」因此,新技術不單促進科研,亦可向市場引入更有效、更便宜的藥物,令消費者受惠。

梁博士的團隊同時就衍生的分析技術向內地及美國申請專利權。