Science on Tap to focus on advancing drug development for children

June 15, 2012

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - For more than 50 years, the term "Therapeutic Orphans" has been used to describe the lack of progress in developing new pharmaceutical therapies for children.

At the next Science on Tap on Thursday (June 21), Purdue industrial and professional pharmacy professor Greg Knipp will put the spotlight on why children have either been denied the use of many new medications or exposed to medications that have bypassed rigorous evaluation.

Knipp's talk, titled "Therapeutic Orphans: Investigating New Ways to Expedite Pediatric Medicine Development," is at 6 p.m. in the upstairs of the Lafayette Brewing Company, 622 Main St., in Lafayette. The event is free and open to anyone ages 21 or older.

"Pediatric drug development is a daunting task because of the various biological, clinical and formulation challenges associated with age-based populations," Knipp said. "A primary cause for this is the inability to accurately predict clinical safety in children based on preclinical studies.

"This lecture will highlight some of the challenges that researchers face in the development of pediatric medicines."

Sponsors for Knipp's talk are the Department of Industrial and Physical Pharmacy, Discovery Park and Purdue University. The research was funded through a pilot grant from the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.

Knipp said results of a case study from his laboratory also will be presented at the Science on Tap talk. In the study, Purdue researchers used rifampin formulations, a first-line antibiotic utilized during tuberculosis therapy administered to adult and juvenile pigs to determine relevant pharmacokinetic parameters.

The results indicated similarities in absorption and elimination parameters between pigs and humans, Knipp said. Age-based changes in the porcine pharmacokinetic parameters also were consistent with similar changes observed in humans.

Knipp, who also is associate director of the Dane O. Kildsig Center for Pharmaceutical Processing Research at Purdue, received his bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Rutgers University and a master's and a doctorate in pharmaceutical chemistry from the University of Kansas.

His postdoctoral work was at the Department of Integrative and Molecular Physiology at the University of Kansas Medical Center from 1997-99.

The Science on Tap lecture series, led by Purdue graduate students Patrick Dolan, Shaili Sharma and Becca Scott, provides Purdue faculty the opportunity to share research activities in an informal setting, with presentations that are designed to appeal to a more general audience.

Attendance at the monthly event has averaged 80 during the program's first two years.
Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133,

Sources: Greg Knipp, 765-494-3765,
                  Patrick Dolan, 765-496-9336,