The Central Africa Network on Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and Malaria (CANTAM) was created in 2009 with the majoraim to build capacity in seven institutions in the three countries Cameroon, Gabon and the Republic of Congo (RoC) for the conduct of clinical trials.
The Central Africa Network on Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and Malaria (CANTAM) was
created in 2009 with the major aim to build capacity in seven institutions in the three
countries Cameroon, Gabon and the Republic of Congo (RoC) for the conduct of clinical
trials. The strategy for achieving this goal was to select institutions with the lowest capacities
to conduct clinical research in Cameroon and RoC and to drive them to a higher level through
participation in multicentre clinical research involving the highly experienced center in
Gabon. Thus, during the past 5 years, baseline data on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria
have been collected. A dynamic training platform for academic and non-academic training
has been developed involving regional partners like WHO/AFRO, UNICEF, Ministries of
Public Health and Ministries of Science and Technology.
In the second phase of the programme, we propose to expand the CANTAM network by
including new partner sites and countries in order to increase the critical mass of researchers
and to acquire expertise (such as pharmacovigilance activities) that is still lacking in the
During the next 5 years CANTAM will consolidate the achievements of the first period and
aims at filling specific identified gaps in tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria and co-morbidities
in Central Africa by involving more countries (Democratic Republic of the Congo and
collaboration with Zambia), more institutions in Gabon and RoC and more European partners
(United Kingdom, The Netherlands) and by conducting innovative interventions.
Recently, the health research environment has been disturbed and boosted with the Ebola crisis which has shown to the world the necessity to invest at least in minimal of functional research activities including identification of pathogens and trained local staff in all countries of sub-Saharan Africa.
CANTAM countries like Gabon, DRC and RoC have faced Ebola outbreaks in the past, of course not in the magnitude of those observed in West Africa but this recent outbreak has pointed out that our countries are still not ready to face such a crisis. The CANTAM mission and objectives offer an opportunity to become a key player in the region for bringing together all interested parties in infectious diseases clinical research and to become an effective platform for cooperation involving health policy makers and national authorities. In the light of the Ebola outbreak the objectives will include the development of a flexible, ready-to-apply methodological framework, including regulatory and ethical aspects in emergency outbreak situations, for the immediate implementation of trials and other clinical studies in the early phase of an infectious outbreak which threatens regional health security.
To be able to respond to these challenges
To be able to respond to these challenges, CANTAM needs a clear plan for increasing local competencies and for developing strong advocacy and fund raising in collaboration with stakeholders alliance using country bilateral and/or multilateral cooperation wherever possible. With reference to the business plan (2016-2020), during the next 5 years CANTAM will consolidate the achievements of the first period and aims at filling specific identified gaps in tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria and co-morbidities in Central Africa by involving more countries (Democratic Republic of the Congo and collaboration with Zambia), more institutions in Gabon and RoC and more European partners (United Kingdom) and by conducting innovative interventions. The business plan is based on five specific objectives which have been determined to maximize the positive impact on the institutions, countries and regions involved:
1) To increase the critical mass of researchers and trained laboratory staff with improved laboratory capacity for conducting GCP/GCLP-ICH compliant clinical trials, including capability for improved molecular diagnostics (rapid, point-of-care and multiplex methodologies) for detection of pathogens, neglected tropical diseases, pharmacovigilance and to increase the general preparedness for implementation of immediate trials in emergency outbreak situations.
2) To conduct relevant operational studies to understand underlying reasons of the failures during the cascade of healthcare observed in the case management of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, and the failure to recognise emergence of new or re-merging infectious diseases threats.
3) To create a high quality institutional biobanks, to better archive biological samples from CANTAM1, and for those which will to be collected from 2017. This biorepository has an added value, as bio-specimens and associated data (For instance, pathogen drug resistances on temporal and spatial scale and implementation of new drugs for regional guidelines).
A systemic approach to conduct clinical trials on interventions
4) A systemic approach to conduct clinical trials on interventions [diagnostics, treatments (including the novel concept of host-directed therapies), vaccines and biomarkers] on EDCTP priority diseases relevant for the region, including new, neglected and re-emerging infectious disease threats.
5) To establish CANTAM’s leadership in the region by strengthening networking and collaborations on capacity development, training and clinical trials research at all levels. By synergising overlapping activities across all EDCTP NOEs we plan to effectively network activities across Central, West, East and Southern Africa on malaria, TB, HIV, co-infections, NIDs, and emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases with epidemic potential. Mission of CANTAM2: To empower and strengthen the participating Central African institutions to conduct high quality, high impact clinical research through GCP/GCLP clinical trials on interventions for improved diagnosis, treatment and prevention of poverty-related diseases and translating the research at the community level. Vision of CANTAM2: CANTAM 2 envision to establish a leadership role in the region by developing capacities and training critical mass to conduct clinical trials (Phase I to IV) at sub regional and regional level. CANTAM2 envisage to provide solid base for public health decisions by synergising and overlapping activities across all EDCTP NoEs in close collaboration with the Ministries of Health, local stakeholders and health authorities. The major focus of this proposal is the Central Africa region with the Republic of Congo (RoC), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Cameroon and Republic of Gabon, francophone countries that to date were less likely to obtain research grants due to restricted application requirements, lack of scientific visibility and intense competition. General objective of the present proposal: To capitalize on the
CANTAM1 network efforts and to increase clinical
CANTAM1 network efforts and to increase clinical research health capacities and capabilities by engaging the network in innovative clinical trials, expanding the regional training platform and increasing the number of participating countries and partners. Specific objectives:
• SO1: To accelerate and to increase local critical mass of health researchers by expanding the training platform and to sustain capacities, by introduction of career development/mentorship programs.
• SO2: To attract funding to investigate drug-drug interaction, drug induced hepatotoxicity in antimalarial, antiTB and antiretroviral drugs and to investigate drug resistance pathogens and associated comorbidities and prevalence of neglected infectious diseases in different regional cohorts.
• SO3: To network, collaborate and communicate and secure active financial support from governments, private sector, and multilateral development partners and establish a robust research governance and support structures, and promote effective leadership.
• SO4: To further develop laboratory and clinical trials capacity to take forward new interventions (diagnostics, treatments -including a range of host-directed therapies, vaccines and biomarkers) on EDCTP priority diseases relevant for the region including new and re-emerging infectious disease threats. The impact of the above proposed objectives will be measured through indicators of success that will be assessed
List of Country and institutions (partners and collaborators) and acronyms
University of Tubingen/Institute for Tropical Medicine
Malaria, Neglected infectious diseases, Genetics of the host and the parasites, molecular diagnostics, Pharmacogenomics
University of Tubingen/Institute for Tropical Medicine
and the parasites, molecular diagnostics, Pharmacogenomics
University of Amsterdam
TB and HIV clinical research and partner also affiliated and working in Gabon (CERMEL)
University College London
TB and HIV, clinical trials. Partner be also affiliated and working in Zambia (UCL-UNZA)
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement
Malaria trials during pregnancy
HIV clinical research, TB epidemiology, malaria in pregnancy and entomology
University of Buea
Centre for Research on Filariasis and other Tropical Diseases
Neglected Tropical diseases
Centre de Recherches Médicales de Lambaréné
Malaria, helminth infections
Université des Sciences
Malaria clinical trials
Malaria clinical trials
HIV and malaria research
Republic of Congo
Fondation Congolaise pour la Recherche Médicale
Malaria, HIV and TB clinical research
Institut de Recherches en Sciences de la Santé
Laboratoire National de Santé publique
HIV epidemiology research
Democratic Republic of Congo
University of Kinshasa
Pharmacology and pharmacovigilance
The University of Zambia - University College London Medical School