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New Mexico Tech student looking to revolutionize medicine

Morgan Aguilar
June 23, 2017 07:01 PM

SOCORRO, N.M. – A native New Mexican has created something that could change the way we buy and take medicine.

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"I struggled for 2 years and everything failed. Then one day, it just worked," said Lindsay Candelaria, a doctoral candidate at New Mexico Tech.

After long, frustrating hours in the lab, Candelaria discovered a new way to separate chemicals using what she calls “columns.”

“Essentially what this does is it's a preliminary step before you purify it,” she said. “So you would stick it in, and you would run it through and you would get a purer form based on it cleaning it from the other one.”

She said her method could help pharmaceutical companies create more pure forms of the medicines we take, like Ibuprofen.

A purer form could mean fewer side effects.

“You read and it says, 'Eat before,' because it affects the lining of the stomach,” Candelaria said. “So we'd see a reduction in the amount of eating up of the stomach and stuff like that.”

It could also mean patients don’t need to take as many pills.

"It's plausible to think that if you have something that's more pure, that you can decrease the dose, or have a better idea of what the dose is. So it gives you kind of a better range to prescribe drugs," Candelaria said.

It could cut prescription costs too. Candelaria said her column is cheaper to manufacture than what is already available.

All this, from a girl born and raised in Bloomfield, New Mexico who says her passion for this line of work comes from losing her grandmother. Candelaria was six, and her grandmother was just 55 when she passed away from cancer.

"It was kind of this humbling experience where it was like, ‘Ok, well, how can we prevent other people from having to go through that?’” Candelaria said.

Now, she has created something that has the potential to help millions.

Candelaria said she doesn’t know when she may be able to start mass-producing her product. She has a provisional patent, but when it goes into production, it all depends on funding.

“We need investors,” she said. “We're at the preliminary stage where we need to mass-manufacture this type of material. So there's a lot that still needs to be done.”

Credits

Morgan Aguilar

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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