Meet the CIPHER grantees

Jackson Mukonzo

Year awarded: 2015
Institution: Makerere University, College of Health Sciences, Uganda
Research site: Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, School of Biomedical Sciences, Makerere University College of Health Sciences
Primary mentor: Jasper Ogwai-Okeng, Makerere University College of Health Sciences

Jackson K Mukonzo is Senior Lecturer and Chair at the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Makerere University, Uganda. His career goal is to optimize pharmacotherapeutic outcomes among populations at risk of under-treatment or drug toxicities.

More information on Jackson | Email

“As a result of the study, HIV screening for all paediatric patients seeking cancer care was initiated at the Uganda Cancer Institute. CD4 and viral load monitoring has been improved. All paediatric cancer patients are being monitored for adverse drug reactions.”

Research project: Optimization of paediatric antiretroviral therapy during co-treatment of HIV-associated cancers

The issue

Poor ART outcomes have been reported in children as a consequence of poor adherence and inadequate dosing, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Multiple co-treatments and associated toxicities are a major cause of poor adherence.

HIV/AIDS is generally associated with increased cases of cancer disease. With more access to ART, patients are increasingly being co-treated with complex regimens for the two diseases. Although the interaction between ARVs and chemotherapeutic agents may result in significant pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic effects and consequent poor clinical outcomes, they are inadequately documented, particularly among Africans.

The CIPHER project

Dr Mukonzo’s research focused on studying the pharmacokinetic interaction between antiretroviral and anti-cancer drugs in HIV-infected children. ART treatment outcomes were compared for study participants during and without co-treatment with anti-neoplatic agents. Paediatric ART outcomes were documented, including virologic decay, immunological recovery and adverse drug reactions during co-treatment with cancer chemotherapy. The hypothesis was that paediatric ART outcomes are significantly influenced by concurrent cancer chemotherapy.

The impact

Dr Mukonzo’s CIPHER project led to the establishment of a registry at the Uganda Cancer Institute for children receiving ART and cancer chemotherapy co-treatment. The registry documents treatment outcomes, including adverse drug reactions, viral loads and CD4 counts. The registry will facilitate clinical monitoring of treatment outcomes which, with findings from the pharmacokinetic component of the project, will form the basis for appropriate paediatric ART modifications during co-treatment with antineoplastic agents.