Release Date: February 23, 2001
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has implemented a new agreement that establishes a Clinical Pharmacology Unit jointly administered by UB's School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.
The new program builds on a 14-year collaboration between the Infectious Diseases Unit at the University of Rochester and the Laboratory for Antiviral Research at UB, directed by Gene Morse, Pharm.D., associate dean for clinical education and research and chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice in the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
The collaboration has facilitated numerous clinical pharmacology studies since the beginning of the NIH-sponsored AIDS Clinical Trials program in the mid-1980s. Morse now serves as national chair of the Adult AIDS Clinical Trials Group Pharmacology Committee, which is part of the NIH program.
The agreement provides for an expansion of research capabilities at UB's Pharmacotherapy Research Center (PRC).
Under the agreement, the University of Rochester will provide "significant support" to the pharmacy school to enable it to expand instrumentation capabilities at the PRC and to hire additional technicians to operate its analytical laboratory. The PRC, a multicenter collaborative clinical research program, utilizes the central analytical laboratory to measure drug concentrations from samples collected in human pharmacology studies. The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences already supports clinical research and pharmacy-student education in Clinical Pharmacology units based at the Erie County Medical Center, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the VA Medical Center, the Dent Neurologic Institute and Univera Health Care.
The addition of the new clinical research unit to UB's comprehensive pharmacy program comes at a time when the pharmacy school, like its peer institutions nationwide, is completing the transition to making the Pharm.D. degree its sole professional degree.
While many pharmacy practitioners continue to practice in community and hospital settings, Morse explained, many new career opportunities have evolved in the area of clinical research, both within the pharmaceutical industry, in academia and within governmental agencies like the FDA.
The UB Pharm.D. degree requires 40 weeks of full-time, advanced clinical experiential rotations, while also providing an opportunity to emphasize elective courses and experiential rotations in clinical and laboratory-based research. By contrast, the bachelor of science in pharmacy program required only 18 weeks of clinical training and the training often had a different focus. UB will graduate its last class of bachelor's-degree students in May.
"The agreement represents an important initiative in regional research and education collaboration," said Wayne K. Anderson, Ph.D., dean of the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
"On the one hand, we need to integrate and expand our clinical research programs with other health-care settings in Western and Central New York in order to facilitate collaborations that might not occur regularly and we also need to focus on expanding opportunities for clinical education. This agreement allows us to do both."
In addition to providing for three faculty positions with joint appointments in the UB Department of Pharmacy Practice and the University of Rochester school of medicine, the program also provides for two post-doctoral fellowship positions at the University of Rochester.
"These faculty also will be involved in the clinical pharmacology instruction for medical students at the University of Rochester and will provide an opportunity for medical interns and residents to learn alongside pharmacy students and residents, while focusing on clinical pharmacology and therapeutics in Strong Memorial Hospital," said Anderson.
Morse will lead the effort for UB.