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New research informs improved treatment of brain inflammation
2017-10-13

Description: Sebolai and Ogundeji Tags: Microbiologist, Dr Adepemi Ogundeji,  

Dr Adepemi Ogundeji, researcher in the Department of Microbial,
Biochemical and Food Biotechnology at the
University of the Free State,
and Dr Olihile Sebolai,
her study leader from the same department.
Photo: Charl Devenish



Microbiologist Dr Adepemi Ogundeji has uncovered a new use for an old medicine that can potentially save lives and money. Under the guidance of her study leader, Dr Olihile Sebolai, Dr Ogundeji set out to fight a fungal disease caused by Cryptococcus neoformans. Drs Ogundeji and Sebolai are from the University of the Free State Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology. 

Dr Ogundeji is passionate about education. “My aim will always be to transfer knowledge and skills in the microbiology field,” she said. “Dr Ogundeji’s study is celebrated in that it found a new purpose for existing medicines. An advantage of repositioning old medicines is by-passing clinical trials, which sometimes take 20 years, and the safety of such medicines is already known,” Dr Sebolai, explained.

Cryptococcus infections are difficult to control and often lead to brain inflammation. In layman’s terms: “Your brain is on fire”. People with HIV/Aids are especially vulnerable, surviving only about three months without treatment. Such patients may present with a Cryptococcus-emergent psychosis, and some with an out-of-control inflammatory condition when initiated on ARVs. 

Dr Ogundeji found that the clinically recommended dosage of aspirin (anti-inflammatory medicine), and quetiapine (anti-psychotic medicine) is sufficient to control the infection. Her exceptional work was readily published in some of the foremost journals in her field, namely, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy and Frontiers in Microbiology

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