This fall, Chapman’s School of Pharmacy started researching and developing drugs which can treat illnesses that affect specific areas of the body, known as targeted drug delivery.
The program, the Center for Targeted Drug Delivery (CTDD), includes pharmacy graduate students, undergraduate pharmacy majors and students with doctorates in pharmacy. The center will be one of 50 drug discovery centers across the country.
“We are trying to send the drug to the site of action,” said Kamaljit Kaur, associate professor in the School of Pharmacy and director of the drug center. “When you take a drug orally, it goes all over the body. It doesn’t directly treat the site of infection – it is going to go everywhere. For instance, in cancer, if someone has breast cancer and they take chemotherapy, it is going to go everywhere in the body, killing both normal cells and cancer cells.”
Chapman opened the center to allow researchers on campus to work toward a common goal, Kaur said.
“Several of us were already working in targeted drug delivery,” Kaur said “My idea was, if we got professors already working in targeted drug delivery, we could work toward a common goal, coming up with better and faster solutions.”
Students enrolled in the recently added doctorate program in pharmaceutical sciences will be included in the professional-level research alongside undergraduates.
“Chapman’s School of Pharmacy offers countless opportunities for student pharmacists to gain experience in the pharmacy field before they enter the workforce,” said Judy Weng, sophomore pharmacy major and former School of Pharmacy senator.
The program is in its beginning stages, and plans on expanding slowly throughout the upcoming months and years.
A drug can take 15 years or more to reach patients on the market. Combining the resources of the Center for Targeted Drug Delivery and focusing research will allow drugs to reach the patients more quickly, Kaur said.
“We especially want to get involved with pharmaceutical companies,” Kaur said. “If we can come up with projects first within the center and work toward them, then we can possibly find a pharmaceutical company as a partner, then they can take it to the next level. And we can get these drugs to the patients much faster.”
Weng said that the program is important because it offers pharmacy students hands-on experience and opportunities.
“With the shift of the pharmacy career from a traditional role to a more health-care oriented platform, pharmacists out in the field are exposed to more patient-based health care experiences than ever before,” Weng said. “To prepare students for this change, (the School of Pharmacy) is encouraging students to gain hands-on experience, especially through meaningful rotations in the pharmacy program.