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UB Hosts Global HIV Pharmacology Workshop at International AIDS Conference in DC

Release Date: July 20, 2012

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Gene Morse, PharmD, UB pharmacy practice professor

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- For the third straight year, the University at Buffalo is jointly sponsoring a workshop with Northwestern University at the prestigious AIDS 2012/International AIDS Conference being held July 22-27 in Washington, DC.

The workshop will cover a variety of topics in support of strengthening global capacity for clinical pharmacology and implementation research.

AIDS 2012 is the premier gathering for those working in the field of HIV, as well as policy makers, persons living with HIV and others committed to ending the pandemic.

Gene Morse, PharmD, UB pharmacy practice professor and associate director of the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, is a facilitator of the workshop and also a presenter.

According to Morse, the workshop, titled "Global HIV Clinical Pharmacology Capacity Building and Implementation Research," will showcase distinguished speakers from Italy, India, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and the U.S., and will focus on collaborative approaches to HIV/AIDS clinical and translational pharmacology research. The workshop will take place on July 23.

Morse, who is presenting on the new Fogarty International Center HIV Research training programs, says, "UB is one of the only Fogarty training grant institutions with an emphasis on clinical pharmacology and a partner with Zimbabwe. The program is so successful that other countries want to join in and build research training collaborations. As a result, UB is becoming a hub for training in this area among southern African countries."

The Fogarty International Center, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, supports basic, clinical and applied research and training for U.S. and foreign investigators working in the developing world. Fogarty has served as a bridge between NIH and the global heath community facilitating exchanges among investigators, providing training opportunities and supporting promising research initiatives in developing countries.

The UB-UZ AIDS International Training and Research Program (AITRP) was initiated with a visit by Morse to the University of Zimbabwe in August 2009. During this visit, Morse met with university leadership, faculty mentors, clinical and laboratory scientists, UZ students and the PARI Patient Support Group. Subsequently, the AITRP Advisory Committee reviewed and accepted the policies and procedures for applicants and faculty mentors and the program was officially under way. A website has been developed to facilitate global communication: https://tdm.pharm.buffalo.edu/aitrp/index.php.

There has also been a 10-year initiative/collaboration program between UB and UZ to investigate the provision and outcomes of antiretroviral therapy in Zimbabwe.

The UB-UZ antiretroviral pharmacology training initiative was initiated in 2002 in collaboration with NIAD AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG).

Through a two-year supplement to the UC Berkeley AITRP in 2005, a more formalized training program was established between UB and UZ and provided the opportunity to train two new UZ postgraduate students. This effort has resulted in a multidisciplinary AITRP between UB and the UZ College of Health Sciences.

Morse says that in addition to increasing the number of faculty researchers, the AITRP is assisting UZ with its efforts to expand clinical pharmacology laboratory staff and analytical instrumentation capacity. Contributions from Waters Associates Inc., Research Triangle International (RTI) and Merck Laboratories that included two HPLCs and additional equipment and laboratory supplies were provided to UB for inclusion into the UZ laboratory.

"Recently, the UZ HIV clinical pharmacology program was designated for inclusion by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID)-supported, HIV Clinical Pharmacology Quality Assurance Program Laboratory Network. This will provide additional capacity for the UZ lab to participate in proficiency testing, assay technology transfer and laboratory staff training. The UZ program also has received an award to implement a developmental, international Pharmacology Specialty Laboratory from the AIDS Clinical Trials Group Laboratory Network," says Morse.

"The role of these kinds of training programs cannot be overstated," he says. "HIV/AIDS is growing in many developing countries where the resources to treat it are extremely limited.

"With this workshop, we hope to discuss how to build capacity -- that is to extend the limited human resources of researchers and clinicians in the developing world so that they can work together as efficiently as possible for the study and treatment of individuals living with HIV/AIDS."

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