To enable a high standard of excellence in the various research areas, the Pharmacology Division is equipped with state of the art instrumentation. These include:
- A several bioflow hoods for cell culture of cancer cells and malaria parasites and a dedicated radioactive room for the use of radioisotope work.
- The two postgraduate laboratories are fully equipped to conduct tissue culture work with incubators, centrifuges and bioflow hoods.
- The K Furman and Welcome Trust Malaria Laboratory consist of a positive pressure laboratory for culturing malaria parasites and are equipped with the necessary equipment to ensure the investigation of asexual and sexual stages of the parasite life cycle.
- The JQ McGill Laboratory is equipment with a HPLC to quantify and identify metabolites from the drug permeation studies.
- The R Charlton Laboratory houses the molecular research laboratory which is fully equipped to investigate various aspects of the malaria parasite and cancer biochemical pathways, in attempts to identify possible drug targets.
- The toxicology laboratories are set up to investigate the adverse effects of drugs on cell lines and brine shrimp.
- The WRIM laboratory is dedicated to the further investigation of novel synthetic and natural compounds on the in vitro growth of the malaria parasite. It is complemented with a state of the art Olympus microscope and digital system to view the pathway of biochemical pathways using fluorescent probes and the morphological effects of novel compounds.
The Pharmacology Division has an established 4 bed facility which can be utilised to conduct clinical trials. In support of this facility, the Pharmacology Division has fully equipped laboratories that can be utilised to analyse biological samples that may result from these trials. Members of staff have previous clinical trial experience and are registered to conduct clinical trials through WITS University.
The Division has been involved in numerous clinical trials over the past decade, these included, Phase 1 to Phase 3 trials conducted locally and internationally. Examples of clinical trials conducted by the Division include:
- The use of amitriptyline in the treatment of distal neuropathy in HIV positive patients.
- Curdlan sulphate in Plasmodium falciparum malaria: trial progressed from asymptomatic malaria through to severe cerebral malaria.
- Effect of miglitol on the oral bioavailability of single-dose phenytoin in healthy males.
- Effect of quinine and Fansidar® on various aspects in patients infected with Plasmodium falciparum malaria, such as plasma nitric oxide; intraleucocytic haemozoin and disease severity; lactate dehydrogenase levels.
- Comparison of the pharmacokinetic profiles of soluble aspirin and solid paracetamol tablets in fed and fasted volunteers.