Abstracts of the papers presented at the Second Satellite Meeting of the International Union of Pharmacology Teaching Section Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove (CA), usa




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Teaching Pharmacology Tomorrow –

Tools and Techniques


Abstracts of the papers presented at the Second Satellite Meeting of the


International Union of Pharmacology Teaching Section


Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove (CA), USA



4-7 July, 2002


Edited by: Elizabeth A. Davis, PhD

Dept of Pharmacology

Monash University

Victoria 3800, Australia


Citable as 'Teaching Pharmacology Tomorrow: Tools and Techniques': Proceedings of the IUPHAR Teaching Section. Davis, Elizabeth ed. Published 01 July 2002 by Monash University. ISBN 0-7326-2204-2


Abstract #1.

DRUG DISCOVERY TECHNIQUES – A SPECIALIST COURSE FOR UNDERGRADUATE PHARMACOLOGISTS

James A Angus & Christine E Wright, Department of Pharmacology, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia.

The In Vivo Pharmacology Training group of the British Pharmacological Society which includes Senior academics from Universities and

directors/senior managers of UK Pharmaceutical companies recently highlighted that there is a current severe shortage of pharmacologists with the

skills needed to carry out in vivo studies in medical research; and a diminishing number of academic staff qualified to teach these skills to students

(TIPS 23: 13-18, 2002).

The teaching sub-committee of the Australasian Society of Clinical & Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists recently surveyed the

University departments in Australia and New Zealand for the number and type of practical sessions involving in vivo experiments. Over recent years,

by far the most common system taught in these sessions was cardiovascular, followed by behavioural CNS pharmacology, with primarily Medical

students taking propranolol, glyceryl trinitrate or a diuretic. There has been an accelerating decline in class time and number of in vivo animal

laboratory sessions, in parallel with the large increase in class size. As an example, in 1968 with a class of nine third year Bachelor of Science (BSc)

students at the University of Sydney, there were two full days of practical laboratory sessions per week involving mice in various behavioural tests,

local anaesthetics, neuromuscular blocking agents, analgesics and a range of more sophisticated preparations including anaesthetised open-chest dogs,

myocardial contractility, Starling’s heart-lung preparation and ‘Whartons Duct’ experiments.

There is an urgent economic imperative to redress the current situation. In Australia, as elsewhere, there is a major thrust to discover and develop drugs

to Phase I in Universities in collaboration with start-up Biotech and venture capital companies, before partnering with Pharmaceutical Companies.

There is a shortage of skilled pharmacologists with experience in pre-clinical development. At Melbourne University we have succumbed to the mass

of second (n=200) and third year (n=70) BSc students by dividing classes, necessitating repetition of the few in vivo sessions. This is not ideal from the

student or staff perspective.

We now plan to offer a two unit (six weeks each) Drug Development Lecture and preclinical practical session subject for third year BSc students

(maximum n=20). The first six week unit titled Applied Pharmacology Techniques contain six lectures, six tutorials and thirty-six (6x6 h) practical

hours of three mice practicals including behavioural tests, routes of administration, sleeping time and anxiolytic studies in open field and maze tests.

The final three sessions are respiratory practicals (conscious mice and isolated trachea), cardiovascular pharmacology (reflexes, autonomic blockade)

and a ‘Folts’ model of arterial thrombosis in anaesthetised rats. The second six week unit, titled Drug Development Techniques, is where students

(groups of two) will assess three unknown drugs rotating through five platforms (offered every week), learning surgery and implantation of flow

transducers in rabbits, in vivo assays, behavioural pharmacology (two sessions) and a final presentation day. Lectures and tutorials complete the unit.

The new units will require a committed staff, cross-subsidy of research resources and animal ethics committee approval.

Outcomes expected are graduates with confidence, knowledge and skills in some preclinical drug development, especially in in vivo experimentation.

It is assumed that graduates would enter doctoral programs, industry or government positions.

Abstract #22.

THE EPHARNET HYPERTENSION PROGRAM – THE FRANCO-ANGLO EXPERIENCE

J. Atkinson*, K. Huckbody**, I.E. Hughes**

Department of Pharmacology, Henri Poincaré University, Nancy, France, ** School of Biomedical Sciences, Leeds University, UK.

atkinson@pharma.uhp-nancy.fr

The European Pharmacology Network (EpharNet) was funded from 1998 to 2001 as a Socrates Thematic Network involving 130 institutions in 28

countries throughout Europe. The general objectives of EpharNet were to facilitate and maintain contacts between pharmacology teachers, develop a

European dimension to pharmacology teaching, and develop and share new teaching materials and methods.

Within this context the EpharNet Hypertension Teaching Resource was developed as a source of material to be integrated into courses together with

appropriate guidance and direction. The program provides basic core knowledge at an undergraduate level (for medicine, pharmacy, science students

as well as paramedical and parapharmaceutical students). More advanced knowledge is available such that any given topic can be developed in detail.

The general idea behind the program was to start at the beginning (What is hypertension? How frequent is it? Is it dangerous and if so why? Are

hypertensives satisfactorily treated and if they are does the treatment work?) and go to the end (clinical cases on antihypertensive treatment). There are

four intermediary stages starting with the types of hypertension (primary, secondary and others). The program then goes on to consider the different

organs involved as victims, culprits or both (brain, heart, arteries, kidney, lungs, eye and others). It next considers the different parameters to be taken

into consideration concerning the decision to treat and this is followed by a standard algorithm for treatment. After this a large section on treatment –

both pharmacological and non-pharmacological - follows with full details on the drugs used (structure, indications, mode of action, interactions,

dosage, contra-indications and unwanted effects).

There is a great deal of interactivity in the program with summaries of the learning points throughout. Students can test their knowledge gain with an

MCQ bank.

European pharmacologists can obtain a free copy of the program and it is now being implemented in various university departments and teaching

hospitals.

Non-European pharmacologists can obtain a copy for a small charge from the British Pharmacological Society in London.

Abstract #2.

SUCCESSFUL B.SC. HONS. DEGREE PROGRAM IN PHARMACOLOGY

AND CPD VIA THE INTERNET.

Christiaan B. Brink1, Antoinette Bisschoff2 & Adelle Lotter3

1Department of Pharmacology, 2Telematic Learning Systems, 3Information and Technology Management, Potchefstroom University for

CHE, Potchefstroom, 2520, South Africa

A unique Internet and Web-assisted, telematic learning Hons. B.Sc. Program in Pharmacology was developed and launched in July 2000. The program

is aimed specifically at supporting medical practitioners, pharmacists and related health professionals in obtaining a general insight into the basic

pharmacological and ethical principles underpinning therapeutic strategies, enabling them to practice more effective pharmacotherapy in community

medicine. The design and development of this program was a team effort from start to finish, with subject experts (pharmacologists), didacticians, ITO

experts and diverse support services. This Internet-based telematic learning systems model allows for delivery of study materials, group

communication and all forms of evaluation, based on sound educational principles. The program consists of 13 Modules, including 4 electives on

various pharmacological and therapeutic topics. One module on the effective utilization of the Internet and Web is also available. The delivery mode

enables us to reach students wherever they practice. An online-offline model for delivery was selected. All communication, outcomes assessments

and information retrieval are performed online. The learning environment (Varsite), study guide and mini-presentations are available on CD-ROM,

enabling offline study. The prescribed textbook is used as printed text. We hereby hope to utilize the strong points of the Internet and partially sidestep

problems associated with Internet access. Especially with the advent of compulsory continued professional development (CPD) in South Africa

and accreditation of this program by professional and occupational bodies, we believe that this new way of delivery and learning provide opportunities

make continued professional development and life long learning viable possibilities nationally and internationally. Feedbacks from students during the

first 2 years of this program were extremely encouraging.

Abstract #24.

TEACHING PHARMACOLOGY IN MEDICAL SCHOOLS IN INDONESIA

Zunilda Bustami, Dept of Pharmacology & Therapeutics, Medical School, University of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia

Undergraduate teaching of pharmacology has been criticized as didactic and drug-centered. This approach of teaching is believed to give contribution

on the lower level of cognitive skill on the pharmacological knowledge and failed to equip students with skill in prescribing. However some medical

schools in Indonesia have made improvement in their curriculum to resolve the problem of incompetencies. In 2001-2002 the Indonesian Society of

Pharmacology (IKAFI) has collected a cross sectional data on pharmacology teaching activity among medical schools in Indonesia.

Most of medical schools (45%) present pharmacology in 3 semesters while 18% present it only in 1 semester and another 18% in 4 semesters. In one

MS pharmacology has been presented early in the 3rd semester, but mostly it is presented in the 4th semester and 5th semester. The time allocated for

pharmacology teaching is varies from 60 - 160 hours.

The diversity is also seen in the methods being used to deliver pharmacology. Lecture and laboratory practice are used by almost all medical schools

(91%) and only one who include computer assisted learning in the learning activity. Other methods being implemented are focused group discussion,

reading assignment, case presentation, problem-based learning, and plenary discussion. Perhaps the most advance medical school in teaching

pharmacology is Samratulangi University in North Celebes that includes research in their pharmacology curriculum.

Regarding the content, diversity is reflected in the wide range proportion of basic and clinical pharmacology being covered. The percentage of basic

pharmacology in the content of pharmacology teaching ranged between 40% and 95%. Yet, in 9 % respondent clinical pharmacology is not included

in the curriculum, while in 18% others clinical pharmacology is even delivered by the clinical pharmacology department. Although no information on

how it is presented, Guide to Good Prescribing from the WHO is covered by almost all medical schools (81%).

Based on the above findings the Indonesian Society of Pharmacology will bring up issues of teaching pharmacology to the coming national meeting in

2003. A workshop on teaching pharmacology will be held to build a common vision and action plan to make it more relevant to people’s need and

make it in line with the revised national curriculum of medical education which will be competency-based in nature. Participation of the Indonesian

Society of Pharmacology in the satellite meeting named “Teaching Pharmacology Tomorrow – Tools and Techniques” is important to widened the

society perspective.

Abstract #3.

DRUGS AND SOCIETY – A NEW INTRODUCTORY UNIT IN PHARMACOLOGY

Elizabeth A. Davis

Department of Pharmacology, Monash University, 3800, Australia

Drugs and Society is a stand-alone unit in pharmacology being offered to level 2 Science students and Science/Law students. In addition to

introducing students to the basics of how drugs act, a major aim of this unit is to encourage students to relate what they are learning to issues of current

topical interest. For this reason the focus of the information presented is less on specific details and more on concepts and controversies.

The lectures of the unit are divided into four broad ‘topics’. Introduction to Drug Action (6 lectures) deals with basic mechanisms of drug action,

neurotransmission and endogenous mediators, as well as introducing concepts in pharmacokinetics. Drugs in Society (9 lectures) discusses where and

how we access gain access to drugs. Factors regulating the availability of therapeutic drugs are discussed with respect to the scheduling and the effect

of this on drug marketing strategies. While there is some focus on conventional medicines, how food and beverages can act as drugs and factors

underlying the increased usage of herbal medicines are also addressed. Drugs of Abuse (9 lectures), in addition to covering the pharmacology of legal

and illegal drugs of abuse, encourages students to think about controversies relating to treatment strategies and the psychological aspects and social

implications of drug abuse. Drug Development (4 lectures) highlights how drugs are discovered (serendipity, natural sources, rational design) and

addresses the issues of clinical drug development and pharmacoeconomics.

Assessment tasks have been developed to allow students to explore how the general public gains access to information about drugs and drug related

issues and to use the scientific literature to assess the quality and validity of this information. In addition, participation in small group debates

encourages students to appreciate why some issues are highly controversial.

Feedback from students undertaking this unit have shown that it is enjoyed by the majority, to the extent that approximately 60% of the students from

the classes of 2000 and 2001 and have continued into third level units in pharmacology. The majority of these students have studied, or intend to

study, pharmacology as a major discipline towards their undergraduate degree.

Overall, we feel that this unit offers a basic introduction to pharmacology which is of relevance not only to students wishing to continue into further

studies in pharmacology, but also to those pursuing a wide range of career options such as patent law, commerce, biotechnology and teaching.
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