Tanga Research Centre

Tanga Research Centre was established as Helminthiasis Research Unit by the Medical Research Council of UK during the mid 1970s. The Centre is situated adjacent to Bombo Regional Hospital in Tanga City in north-eastern Tanzania. Tanga Research has a long history in health research dating back to the days when the Centre was managed under Amani Research Centre (from 1979-2005). Most of the laboratory activities are carried out in a new modern Biomedical Research Laboratory within the Bombo Hospital premises. Its strategic location offers opportunities for researchers to utilise the hospital facilities for clinical research. Tanga Centre has Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory with High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) machine and ELISA reader for immunology, general laboratory which accommodates Microbiology and Parasitology sections, Clinical Chemistry and Haematology sections, Molecular Biology Unit and CAT 3 laboratory for specialised work including cell culture and other systems that provide sterile conditions.

The mission of Tanga Research Centre is to conduct health research and the vision is to be a Centre of Excellence in Clinical and Biomedical Research. The Centre has continued to work on malaria but now researches on HIV and related infections as well. Tanga Centre research targets service to the community and health facilities mainly. The Biomedical Research Laboratory provides support for investigations into different aspects of diseases as well as early development of vaccines and diagnostics. The Centre has another laboratory at Magunga hospital in Korogwe which is under Korogwe Station that works mainly on malaria clinical trials and malaria vaccine research and development.

Tanga Research Centre has 201 staff of which 74 are permanent employees while the rest are project staff.  Of the 74 permanent staff, 19 are research scientists (3 PhD, 4 PhD candidates, 9 MSc, 3 BSc). There are 5 research departments and Finance and Administration department.

Tanga Centre has achieved a great deal in the area of clinical trials of malaria vaccines and drugs. During the past few years, 3 malaria vaccine trials (RTS,S phase IIb, MSP3 phase Ib and RTS,S phase III) have been carried out. Funding to support malaria vaccine trials from PATH-MVI and MCTA made it possible for Tanga Centre to work with her collaborators within the Joint Malaria Programme (JMP) and conduct a phase 11b trial of RTS,S/ASO1E malaria vaccine candidate in Korogwe from 2007 to 2008. At the same time, with funding from the African Malaria Network Trust (AMANET), the Centre was able to conduct a phase 1b trial of MSP3 malaria vaccine among 45 children in one village in Korogwe in 2007 to 2008.

The Centre has been conducting a series of observational studies of clinical safety, therapeutic efficacy and pharmacokinetic interactions between the current nationally recommended first-line treatments for uncomplicated malaria and HIV/AIDS in Tanzania. These involve artemether-lumefantrine (ALu) for uncomplicated malaria and antiretrovral combination treatments for HIV/AIDS, which is primarily Nevirapine+Stavudine+Lamivudine.