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New NIH funding awarded to the Department of Clinical Pharmacy in 2011
By David Jacobson / Fri Apr 13, 2012
New research support awarded to the UCSF School of Pharmacy by the National Institutes of Health during the 2011 fiscal year included these on-going projects by faculty in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy:
Malaria treatment for HIV-positive children and pregnant women
Francesca Aweeka, PharmD
- Professor in residence
- Awarded $579,350 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development as part of a five-year $2.7 million research grant
Aweeka is researching the interactions between drug treatments for malaria and HIV in a region of eastern Uganda that has high rates of both infections.
She will examine the most widely used treatments for malaria in pregnant women and children under age five who are also being treated with combination antiretrovirals for HIV infection. Her study aims to evaluate their proper dosing, effects on the body and the disease (pharmacodynamics), and how individuals process the drugs (pharmacokinetics).
In particular, she will determine if the standard dosing of antimalarial drugs, derived from adult studies, is:
- Appropriate and effective for young children or pregnant women.
- Safe and effective when used in combination with HIV antiretrovirals.
- Causing neutropenia (decreases in the immune system’s key white blood cells) in those patients who are also HIV infected and being treated with antiretrovirals.
Aweeka’s findings will help establish drug-dosing guidelines based on age, pregnancy, and co-use with antiretroviral therapy for the most widely used anti-malarial medications.
Conflicts of interest and nonclinical research
Lisa Bero, PhD
- Professor and vice chair for research
- Awarded $231,750 from National Institute of Environmental Health Science as part of a two-year $424,875 research grant
Bero is examining the impact of conflicts of interest on the design, conduct, and reporting of nonclinical pharmaceutical and toxicological research—laboratory and animal studies conducted to determine if a drug should go on to be tested in humans.
Specifically, she will look at whether researchers receiving industry funding, or with financial ties to companies, are more likely to design studies and/or selectively publish outcomes (i.e., reporting bias) that favor those sponsors.
In order to assess methodological bias, Bero will review and select the best tools to evaluate methods used in animal studies, then compare study quality, financial ties, and the extent of favorable results.
If Bero finds evidence of bias it would provide the basis for new conflict of interest policies, which would help to yield more accurate results and thus safer and more appropriate clinical trials.
About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.