By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. July 14, 2017: A Caribbean-born scientist has been granted a special designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, (FDA), to bring a weed-based drug to market in three years to treat acute myeloid leukemia.
Dr. Henry Lowe, a scientist who specializes in medicinal chemistry and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, said the drug, which has the trade name Cresorol, could hit the market in three years following the FDA’s recently approved “orphan status” designation.
The special status is granted by the FDA to a drug or biological product to treat a rare disease or condition once it meets certain criteria specified in the ODA and FDA’s implementing regulations
Dr. Lowe, according to the Jamaica Observer, described the development as historic and pointed out that the drug could pull in estimated annual minimum sales of more than US$250 million in the US market alone.
“As far as I am aware, this is the first time that anyone from a developing country like Jamaica has been able to achieve this feat of starting from the isolation of a bioactive molecule and working it up to provide a new drug from scratch, which is recognized by the FDA, which is the world-leading food and drug regulator and approval agency,” Lowe said in a prepared text for a function announcing the development at his Eden Gardens Wellness Resort and Spa in Kingston this week, according to the paper.
Dr. Lowe has contributed approximately 50 years in the fields of science and technology, energy, the environment, wellness and health sciences nationally, regionally and internationally since graduating from the University of the West Indies, Mona. As a result of his outstanding work in these areas he has earned several recognitions nationally and regionally, including the Commander of the Order of Distinction in Jamaica 1982.
He is known globally for using the properties of Jamaican plants, particularly ball moss and cannabis, in his cancer research.
Dr. Lowe said that Jamaica has 52 per cent of the globally recognized medicinal plants and lamented the fact that the island has not benefited in the past from vinblastine and vincristine — the two drugs processed from Periwinkle which are now used to treat childhood leukemia.
Both scientists urged the government to ensure that the country does not miss the potential opportunities for wealth creation from research and development using plants such as cannabis, marijuana or weed.