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Dr. Terry Allen

Dr. Terry Allen joined the department of Pharmacology at the University of Alberta in 1977. Since then her research has led to the filing of multiple patents that encompass two main areas: marine natural products with disease fighting properties, and drug delivery technology.

Dr. Terry AllenAt the age of 16, Allen took up scuba diving. Her hobby took a professional turn when she obtained a degree in oceanography and used her diving experience to search the waters surrounding Papua New Guinea. She discovered a marine sponge whose components led to the isolation of an anti-inflammatory drug Contignasteral, which can be used in asthma therapy. The product was patented and licensed through the University of Alberta and University of British Columbia (UBC) to Inflanzyme Pharmaceuticals. Clinical trials of the drug began in 1997 and are currently in the second phase.

Allen’s other field of activity, drug delivery systems, has led to the development of the Stealth liposome. Liposomes are cells capable of carrying drugs through the blood to reach disease tissues, such as tumours. Allen and her co-inventors at UBC are continuing to develop liposomal drug therapies for cancers and infectious diseases. They are working on ways to control the rate in which liposomes release their drugs, and are currently testing an anti-cancer drug, also derived from a sea sponge.

Today Allen continues to work closely with her UBC colleagues in the area of liposomes and cancer therapy.

Much of the information on this page is from "Patent Portraits, A Celebration of Inventions and Patents from the University of Alberta," published in 1996 by the Office of the Vice-President (Research and External Affairs) in collaboration with the Industry Liaison Office, now known as the Research Services Office.

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