MILFORD, Mass., Dec. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- At a ceremony coinciding with the 20th anniversary of Los Angeles Laker Marvin "Magic" Johnson's public revelation that he had acquired HIV, the University at Buffalo's School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences acknowledged Waters Corporation (NYSE: WAT) for its donation of a state-of-the-art ACQUITY® TQD System, a liquid chromatograph/mass spectrometer that will be used to build laboratory capacity and advance research into the treatment of HIV and AIDS-related illnesses in sub-Saharan Africa. The University at Buffalo is the only pharmacy school in the State University of New York System and is an internationally recognized leader in HIV Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics research.
The new instrument, installed within the HIV Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory, will be used to train graduate students, post-doctoral and clinical fellows in the University at Buffalo (UB)/University of Zimbabwe (UZ) AIDS International Training and Research Program (UB/AZ AITRP), a joint program managed by the UB and UZ and funded in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Fogarty International Center.
"Our mission has been to establish a bridge between the University at Buffalo and Zimbabwe to train clinician scientists on a state-of-the-art instrumentation and grow the capacity for clinical and translational research that will impact medical care in Zimbabwe. That's why Waters donation is so important. It's a tremendous boost to the program and we're very thankful," said Dr. Gene D. Morse, Associate Director of UB's New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences and Professor in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
"Waters is honored to make a second donation of our value-added research tools to such an important international health program," said Dr. Mark Bruns, Senior Director of Waters Clinical Business Operations. "Waters is committed to making its leading technologies accessible to researchers who can translate its power of discovery, and a deeper understanding of disease and disease management, into far-reaching impact around the globe."
The donation of equipment by Waters to the University is a continuing effort to support the UB/UZ AITRP directed by Dr. Morse in collaboration with Dr. Charles Chiedza Maponga, Director of UZ's School of Pharmacy, who also holds an academic appointment at UB.
"The UB/UZ program has been an important component in recent years in turning the destructive tide of HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe. We have the human resources, we're getting the brick and mortar facilities … all we need now are more tools," Dr. Maponga told the audience at the ceremony.
In his remarks, Dr. James Hakim, a physician and lead medical investigator for HIV research programs in Zimbabwe recounted the dark days of the 1990's when the morbidity and mortality rate of AIDS "was a source of great anxiety and disappointment for physicians." The situation improved dramatically after the year 2000 when antiretroviral drugs came on the scene and 350,000 people in Zimbabwe entered treatment.
Commenting on the academic/industry partnership between UB, UZ and Waters Corporation, Dr. Hakim said, "As academic leaders, we play a critical role in making things happen and improving the quality of life of patients. I would like to extend my most profound gratitude to everyone involved, including Waters, for their generous support. Together, we are poised to reach even greater heights."
In 1991, when "Magic" Johnson held his press conference, AIDS was a death sentence. Very little was known about the HIV virus or how to treat patients with HIV to keep them from acquiring full-blown AIDS.
A lot has changed in 20 years.
Today, for many patients, AIDS is a manageable chronic disease but with recently appreciated long-term consequences from HIV infection and antiretroviral adverse effects, remains an active and growing research field. Research has led to new medications, new treatment regimens and new diagnostic tests that now prolong the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients.
For many developing regions of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa, the picture, while improving, is still bleak. Dr. Maponga says he is determined to give hope to ailing patients in his homeland and those in nearby countries by building bridges between Zimbabwe and developed countries like the U.S. and by adopting methods that they have used to control their AIDS epidemics. "We'll accomplish this with drug manufacturing and distribution, adherence programs, pharmacological research, education and training. And we continue to make steady progress in attaining these goals."
About the University at Buffalo – University of Zimbabwe AIDS International Training and Research Program
Initiated in the spring of 2009, The University at Buffalo (UB) and University of Zimbabwe (UZ) AIDS International Training and Research Program is a postgraduate fellowship training initiative to support HIV/AIDS clinical and translational pharmacology research in southern African countries. The UB and UZ faculty provide mentored training with a focus on current and investigational drug treatment for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, as well as the expertise in clinical pharmacology, which integrates multidisciplinary teams to achieve the HIV/AIDS research goals for Zimbabwe and other southern African countries and build research capacity. Key programmatic areas include pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, with newly emerging research components that include genomics, healthcare informatics, economics and outcomes and nanomedicine. Implementation research initiatives include medication adherence, drug interactions, traditional medicine use, bioequivalence testing, clinical pharmacology laboratory sciences, integration of therapeutic drug monitoring and viral load and resistance tests, and biochemical and clinical adverse effect monitoring.
About Waters Corporation (www.waters.com)
For more than 50 years, Waters Corporation (NYSE: WAT) has created business advantages for laboratory-dependent organizations by delivering practical and sustainable innovation to enable significant advancements in such areas as healthcare delivery, environmental management, food safety, and water quality worldwide.
Pioneering a connected portfolio of separations science, laboratory information management, mass spectrometry and thermal analysis, Waters technology breakthroughs and laboratory solutions provide an enduring platform for customer success.
With revenue of $1.64 billion in 2010 and 5,400 employees, Waters is driving scientific discovery and operational excellence for customers worldwide.
Waters and ACQUITY TQD are trademarks of Waters Corporation.
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