Step Inside the ACTG's Only Site in Thailand

The Chiang Mai University Adult Clinical Trials Group Clinical Research Site (CMU ACTG CRS) was first established as an AIDS Clnical Trials Group international clinical trial unit (ICTU) in February 2004. The Chiang Mai ICTU is the first and only clinical research site in Thailand affiliated with the ACTG Network and is the first ACTG ICTU to enroll patients in Asia. The site is one of the first sites, with Malawi, to enroll patients to the worldwide multi-site A5175 (PEARLS) trial (June 16, 2005).

The CMU ACTG CRS is located in the same campus as the CMU Faculty of Medicine, which is an 1,800-bed tertiary-care hospital serving all of northern Thailand. The CMU infectious disease clinic at the CMU Faculty of Medicine Hospital currently has a cohort of more than 1,300 HIV-infected adults being treated with several antiretroviral (ARV) regimens, most commonly the Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors- or NNRTI-based regimen. The clinic recruits participants from the provincial and community hospitals around the Chiang Mai area. These recruitment sites provide access to a large pool of both anti-retroviral naïve and NNRTI-experienced potential participants who are infected with the HIV-1 CRF01 A/E clade. In addition, the clinic has the opportunity to recruit participants from the ethnic minority population along the borders of Thailand with Myanmar and Laos as well as to expand the site to cover populations in Southeast Asian countries around northern Thailand, i.e., Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam. All the site staff is trained in Good Clinical Practice (GCP) and Human Subjects Protection. Laboratory personnel are certified in Good Laboratory Practice (GLP).

“It's great working at Research Institute for Health Sciences,” says Daralak Tavornprasit, the Clinical Research Site Coordinator. “We have a great team, work in a great environment and aim to conduct great research.”

 The CMU ACTG CRS is under the administration of the Chiang Mai University HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials Unit (CMU HIV/AIDS CTU) led by Thira Sirisanthana, MD. This CTU currently has three Clinical Research Sites (CRS). The first site is the CMU AIDS Clinical Trials Group Clinical Research Site (CMU ACTG CRS), headed by Khuanchai Supparatpinyo, MD, focusing on research priorities in optimization of clinical management in the adult HIV-infected population.

The second site is the Pediatrics-Obstetrics Clinical Research Site (CMU PED-OB CRS), headed by Virat Sirisanthana, MD, focusing on research priorities in mother-to-child transmission of HIV, as well as optimization of clinical management in children, adolescents and pregnant women.

And finally, the Chiang Mai University AIDS Prevention and Microbicide Clinical Research Site (CMU AIDS Prevention CRS), that is headed by Suwat Chariyalertsak, MD, under the Southern Asia HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials Unit, Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Bloomberg School of Public Health. To maintain cost efficiency, all the sites share the CTU resources by using the same core competency teams, i.e., administration, financial management, pharmacy, clinical laboratory, specimen processing, regulatory compliance, staff training, quality management, data management and community advisory boards. The CTU investigators have expertise in pharmacokinetics trials, HIV epidemiology and behavioral interventions, HIV vaccines, HIV prevention and HIV treatment trials. Several members of the ACTG, PED-OB and HPTN CRSs participate in the network’s protocol teams and scientific committees.