The Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) is a HIV/AIDS research and care facility established in 1991 to respond to and provide a scientific approach to the national HIV/AIDS challenge at the time. It was established as a joint venture between Makerere College of Health Sciences (MaKCHS) and the Uganda Ministries of Health and Defence. The Centre is involved in Medical Research, Clinical Care, Laboratory services, Medical Training providing infrastructure for collaborations and researchers and offering guidance for policy formulation. JCRC has its headquarters located at Lubowa Hill and is approximately 10 kilometres from the Kampala City Centre.
It has 4 Regional Centres of Excellence (RCEs) strategically located across the country: Mbarara and Fort Portal serve the south western part of Uganda, Gulu serves the Northern region, whereas Mbale supports the Eastern region. Meanwhile, the headquarters serves the Central region as well as operating as a referral centre for complicated HIV management including provision of third line treatment and advanced laboratory tests like HIV drug resistance.
JCRC is a renowned international research centre that has undertaken ground-breaking trials that have shaped policy and guidelines in Africa and beyond. In 1992 the Centre pioneered use of antiretroviral drugs in Sub-Saharan African region through the first trial evaluating the lowest effective dose of zidovudine (AZT) in Ugandan subjects. JCRC has also spearheaded research on preventive and therapeutic HIV vaccines in the region and is currently involved in evaluating long acting antiretroviral drugs and participating in CURE agenda for HIV and Hepatitis B and C. The Centre has several peer-reviewed publications and has received several awards for excellence in research. Research at JCRC is supported by a College of American Pathologists (CAP) accredited laboratory with over 50 test menu. These labs include; Clinical Chemistry, Tuberculosis, Hematology, Immunology and Flow cytometry, Molecular biology, Virology and Microbiology.
JCRC’s longstanding research collaboration with Penta started back in 2006 when JCRC became the first clinical site in Africa to participate in the Penta network trials. This close working relationship resulted in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding agreement between the two institutions on 17 October, 2018 at the JCRC Headquarters in Kampala, Uganda that will see more collaborative studies conducted at the Joint Clinical Research Centre. Penta studies conducted at JCRC include: ODYSSEY (PENTA 20), SMILE (PENTA 17) and BREATHER (PENTA 16).