Monday 11th June until Wednesday 13th June delegates from all over the world assembled for the MBLA Conference at the University of St Andrews, School of Medicine. The conference was organized and sponsored by the University of St Andrews and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), in cooperation with the PanACEA Biomarkers Expertise Core. The conference consisted for a large part of practicalities that successfully trained the participants in Molecular Bacterial Load (MBL) assay and analysis.
This MBL assay was developed through PanACEA Capacity Development and the PANBIOME study. The MBL assay is quite easy to master but this novel quantitative method will significantly speed up the advancement of clinical trials and save resources. It allows for a smaller sample size and a more rapid and accurate identification of viable TB bacteria. The assay performs well in different laboratory circumstances, different aspects of TB diagnostics and treatment monitoring.
MBL assay will be rolled out to many PanACEA trial sites. This will build the capacity of Southern centers to deliver cutting edge microbiological methods and expand their opportunities to perform research.
From June 12-14th the EDCTP held a three-day competency training workshop in health research ethics, Good Clinical Practice and Good Clinical Laboratory Practice in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The goal of the workshop was to improve the skills and capabilities of the participants to become a “Trainer-of-Trainers” or focal person within the research networks or regions within which the EDCTP projects are operational. Attending on behalf of the PanACEA project was Bariki Mtafya, head of the laboratory Sciences at NIMR-MMRC, Tanzania.
As of June the PanACEA consortium welcomes Jean Marie Habarugira as the new EDCTP Project Officer. At the General Assembly meeting on June 11th the consortium had the first opportunity to get acquainted with him and an official visit will follow. Jean Marie Habarugira has been working for the EDCTP as Project Officer since 2010. To get to know him better, go to: http://www.edctp.org/get-know-us/people-edctp/edctp-secretariat/jean-marie-vianney-habarugira/
Jean Marie Habarugira is replacing Monique Rijks-Surette, who is leaving EDCTP to start a position at Johnson & Johnson. We enjoyed the pleasant cooperation and wish her all the best in the new challenges ahead.
Building up to this quarterly General Assembly (GA) meeting on June 11th the Expertise Cores developed a comprehensive trial capacity development proposal. The Cores are eager to start and the General Assembly gave the final go-ahead for their plans.
PanACEA is one year into the project now and an Annual Report was submitted to its funder, the EDCTP, on behalf of the consortium. The Coordinator reported on the progress of the project, activities for capacity development and dissemination of scientific results/achievements.
Other items on the agenda of the GA were the HR1, trial that is coming to an end, and the upcoming trials for which the preparations are under way.
Grantees of the EDCTP programme are obligated to acknowledge the EDCTP and EU as funders in all dissemination activities and publications. A guide on how to acknowledge EDCTP can be found in the EDCTP Media Kit, that also provides a brand manual. Go to: http://www.edctp.org/media-kit/
Centre de Recherches Médicales de Lambaréné (CERMEL) is a partner in the PanACEA Consortium. Over the years CERMEL has become increasingly involved in TB research. The institute has developed a research group and a laboratory specialized in TB.
To honor World TB Day, CERMEL organized a day of lectures, discussions and lab tours to educate participants on TB and create awareness. The activities were sponsored by the Central Africa Network on Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and Malaria (CANTAM) and the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP).
You can read all about the event on the website of CERMEL: https://www.cermel.org/news_2018-04-14.php
On the 4th of May the Coordinator of PanACEA, Martin Boeree, was welcomed at WITS Health Consortium in Johannesburg, South Africa, by Mohammed Rassool and his team. WITS was active as site during PanACEA I and will be again for the PanACEA STEP IIC trial. On the 7th of May the Coordinator also visited , The Aurum Institute in Johannesburg, another long-standing PanACEA partner. Here he was shown around by Gavin Churchyard, Salome Charambous, Vinodh Edwards and Bob Wallis, who are all part of the STEP IIc study team. Both sites were well prepared and we look forward to working together.
College of Medicine (CoM) is one of the new partners of the PanACEA consortium. End of April a delegation from PanACEA traveled to Malawi for an assessment of the trial site. They were greeted with a warm welcome and a well organized visit. It was a good opportunity to get acquainted with our colleagues in the study team, amongst others Liz Corbett, Marriott Nliwasa, Doris Shani, Brigitte Denis and Mphatso Mwapasa.
The PanACEA Annual Meeting was followed by a day of seminars, which was open to all PanACEA participants.
The PanACEA Consortium Coordination and Finance Expertise Core organized a Financial Workshop where Rutger Spoor, Wendy Simons and Jaco Swart trained the participants in several components of Financial Management en Financial Reporting. Main subjects were managing en reporting finances for EDCTP projects and budgeting for trials
The PanACEA Clinical Pharmacology Expertise Core held a Clinical Pharmacology Workshop at Stellenbosch University Tygerberg Campus. After a series of informative lectures on how to perform sound pharmacological studies and analyses, sites were given the opportunity to present their own work.
TASK Academy provided a one day accredited GCP refresher course. Karen Cloete and Louise Thomas led the interactive discussions on challenging topics and shared the latest news on the revised edition of good clinical practice to ensure everybody’s knowledge is current and up to date. Candidates that successfully completed the post course assessment were rewarded with a GCP certificate from TASK Academy.
The General Assembly of PanACEA gathered in Cape Town, South Africa, on the 28th of February and the 1st of March 2018 for the second Annual Meeting of PanACEA II.
Over 80 delegates from Tanzania, South Africa, Germany, Gabon, The Netherlands, UK, Malawi, Switzerland, Mozambique and Uganda were present, together representing all PanACEA institutions. Special guests were Monique Rijks-Surette from the EDCTP, Helen McIlleron who represented the Scientific Advisory Board of PanACEA, and Fareed Abdullah from the South African MRC.
On the first day of the Annual Meeting the consortium discussed the ongoing trial, the planned studies, and the study proposals being prepared for the latest EDCTP calls.
The second day was the highlight of the Annual Meeting, as the expertise cores revealed their final plans for capacity development at the trial sites and passionately debated how to prioritize these plans so as to make the most out of the available resources.
We look back on a successful meeting that proved a good opportunity for the consortium to exchange ideas and opinions. We look forward to the next year with great anticipation and thank all of our partners for their commitment and dedication.