Academic Community Supports State Initiatives on Plant-Made Pharmaceuticals

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Researchers say greater opportunities key to PMP development.

Academics and medical researchers have expressed their support for initiatives by state institutions and others to support the development of plant-made pharmaceuticals.

"Over the course of medical history it has been shown time and again that some of the greatest and most successful innovations have come when researchers have tested a broad range of options," said Dr. Hilmar Stolte, president of the International Academy of Life Sciences (IALS).

Efforts to stall state-based initiatives, most recently in Iowa, limit the possibility for informed dialogue, as well as the options for development of quantities of pharmaceuticals that can be adjusted to meet demand, Stolte added.

"Plant-made pharmaceuticals have such potential to treat life-threatening illness, we need to provide scientists and researchers as many development alternatives as possible, always with appropriate regulatory oversight," he said.

Meanwhile, Stolte applauded a vote by the Hawaii State Board of Agriculture, which has agreed to allow a Hawaiian company, Mera Pharmaceuticals, to test and grow microalgae for possible use in the production of treatments for asthma, inflammations and possibly cancer.

"The kind of innovation being explored by the plant-made pharmaceutical companies is what could ultimately lead us to the treatments that will help people suffering from such diseases as cancer, HIV, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, kidney disease, Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, and multiple sclerosis," said Dr. Stolte. "The academic community represented by IALS is very happy that the Hawaii Board of Agriculture felt the processes being developed are safe and that it will allow Mera and its partner, Rincon Pharmaceuticals, to pursue their work."

Stolte, IALS and its U.S. partner, the Biomedical Exchange Program (BMEP), host, an online community dedicated to a science-based, medically oriented discussion on PMPs and their potential to help combat life-threatening illness. The community's membership includes academics, researchers, patient organizations, consumers, regulators, government officials and others from more than 30 countries around the world.

IALS is a global network of universities, medical schools, and related institutions that are dedicated to education, training and research in key issues associated with the life sciences.


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Sarah Fuhrmann for IALS
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