June 21, 2018

Kenyan researcher discovers a possible cure for arthritis

Dr Christine Ong’ayo Wangia, a senior lecturer in the School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacology/Pharmacognosy from JKUAT. [www.sde.co.ke]

A Kenyan researcher from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology has broken the norm with her discovery about a drug that could finally cure arthritis.

Dr. Christine Ong’ayo Wangia, a senior lecturer in the School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacology/Pharmacognosy, discovered a Kenyan medicinal plant that could offer a possible cure for arthritis.

She has since been feted by the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) for her remarkable discovery.

The new drug as she says in her discovery, “it possesses antiarthritic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that can be harnessed and used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.”

Dr. Wangia’s discovery could end years of suffering for patients who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. It has no cure; only drugs to manage it and they are costly and have negative side effects.

The new drug is set for clinical trial on patients starting next year and has already filed a patent with KIPI to protect her discovery.

What remains of the research is just fine-tuning as on the formulation of the drug in oral dosage forms and then conduct clinical trials in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis next year.

However, she notes that throughout her research period, she has faced numerous challenges including lack of funds and time constraints which made her research take longer than anticipated.

“…with partial study leave, I still had to teach, supervise students’ projects, as well as those on attachment, attend school board meetings at the university and creating time for my research.”

Further, she says, “Shuttling between six laboratories in JKUAT and the Kenya Medical Research Institute was tedious, plus moving around with samples from one lab to another. If researchers could conduct research under one roof, it would ease their work and significantly enhance their output.”

She says that she is grateful she managed to make the discovery even in the face of myriad challenges.

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