In 2001, Geisel and Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences in Tanzania began a research collaboration in the area of TB and HIV.
This partnership, known as the DarDar Programs has expanded to include extensive programs in research, training/capacity building and healthcare delivery. Over the years, faculty and students from Geisel, Dartmouth College, Tuck Business School and Thayer School of Engineering have participated in this broad based effort. In recent years, Dartmouth undergraduates and medical students have traveled to Dar es Salaam to work in the pediatric HIV clinic, participate in care on the wards of Muhimbili National hospital, assist in the conduct of research studies, and do public health outreach work.
Through a series of consecutive training grants from the Fogarty International Center of NIH beginning in 2003, several Tanzanian medical and research professionals have earned their MPH and PhD degrees from Geisel, and are now back in Tanzania helping to build research, education and clinical programs. In 2013, researchers from Geisel were awarded a five-year grant from the Fogarty International Center at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) to create a first-of-its-kind, HIV-TB-specific research institute in East Africa.
Most significant to this endeavor has been the research work led by Geisel Professor Dr. Ford von Reyn to develop a new TB vaccine. The vaccine, known as DAR-901, has been jointly researched by von Reyn and colleagues in the United States and Tanzania.
Globally, there are more than 20 research groups working on novel TB vaccine development, and Dartmouth’s group is the first to have successfully completed an efficacy trial of one of the candidates. In 2014, Geisel and Aeras, a global nonprofit biotech, announced a collaboration to jointly conduct the necessary clinical testing of this promising new vaccine. Aeras is working with Geisel to manufacture the vaccine and support the first clinical trial. If confirmed as effective, DAR-901 will be the first new TB vaccine since 1928.
In 2006, the DarDar Pediatric Program (DPP) was established with funding from the Foundation for the Treatment of Children with AIDS. Housed in a site adjacent to an adult HIV care program, DPP provides specialized pediatric care to over 700 HIV-infected children and their parents/caregivers. Dartmouth faculty contribute to the management of this program, offering clinical guidance and expertise and providing opportunities for operations research to improve healthcare delivery of comprehensive HIV care to children and adolescents.
Dartmouth colleagues have also received funding to provide technical assistance to strengthening the public health curriculum at Muhimbili University’s School of Public Health and to support and further develop the university’s ethic review board.