Sunday, 22 May 2005 - 12:00 PM

This presentation is part of: Chemistry I

From Willow Bark to PolyAspirin: Discovery and Invention

Kathryn E. Uhrich, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ

Aspirin is a drug that is broadly used by millions of Americans to treat aching joints, headaches, and prevent heart attacks. The oldest version of aspirin is the poultice prescribed by Hippocrates in the fifth century BC obtained from the bark of willow trees and myrtle. The latest version of aspirin is PolyAspirin, a plastic version of aspirin that was first synthesized by an undergraduate chemistry student in Uhrich's lab at Rutgers University. Since that discovery, several other polymer (or plastic) versions of drugs have been invented, which led to the formation of Polymerix Corporation. Polymerix works with pharmaceutical and medical device companies to enhance their products; for example, PolyAspirin-coated cardiovascular stents may be more beneficial to patients because the drug is located exactly where it needs to be on the stent rather than in the stomach.

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