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Oct
02

A toad’s venom could become a new weapon in the battle against cancer.

The toxin – found on the amphibian’s skin – has long been used as a traditional Chinese medicine.

But now US researchers have tested the venom extract on patients with liver, lung, and pancreatic cancer.

A study published in the journal Cancer suggested the toxin can stop the growth of tumours and improve immune system function.

Scientists gave 15 patients with late-stage cancer daily doses for more than a year.

The disease remained stable in six patients for an average of six months and one patient had a 20% reduction in tumour.

Researchers are now carrying out further trials.

Sep
29

Researchers from the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica (SIMM), Chinese Academy of Sciences reported in the recent issue of “Cancer Research” the discovery of a novel mechanism of a traditional Chinese medicine in treating cancer.

The traditional Chinese herb medicine Euphorbia fischeriana Steud has been widely used in China for treating various cancers. Several compounds in the medicinal herb have been reported to have anti-tumor effects. However, the mechanisms of these compounds in inhibiting tumor growth have not been fully understood.

Dr. Ying Wang from Dr Yu’s research group, identified 17-hydroxy-jolkinolide B (HJB) from the herb as a novel inhibitor of the JAK family kinases. The mechanism of this compound is rather unique. It covalently cross-links the JAKs into dimers and inactivates their kinase activities. This effect on the JAKs is very specific. It does not affect many other kinases. As a consequence, it induces apoptosis of tumor cells, particularly those with constitutively activated JAK/STAT3. The JAK family kinases are important targets for anti-cancer and anti-inflammation drugs.

This discovery provides a new direction for JAK inhibitor drug research and development. It also helps to understand the mechanisms of the traditional Chinese medicines in treating cancer.

Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences

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Jul
20

After more than 21 years of exploration in the sector of treatment of HIV/AIDS patients with traditional Chinese medicine, Chinese doctors has gained more experience both for the disease and other chronic diseases.

“Traditional Chinese Medicine project started at the then Muhimbili Medical Center in 1987. At that time, there was no other treatment for the HIV/AIDS patients. ” Rosina Lipyoga, assistant director of Clinical Services at the current Muhimbili National Hospital in charge of the project, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

When anti-retroviral (ARV) AIDS drugs became available in 2004,some patients who met the standard chose the medicine for treatment while some others still used the traditional Chinese medicine, with some progress and efficacy having been achieved, she added.

According to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two countries in 2006, traditional Chinese Medicine is also allowed to treat patients with chronic diseases, such as asthmatic children and adults, arthritis and gout among others, Lipyoga said.

At the Traditional Chinese Medicine clinic, some patients are glad to see the Chinese doctors to receive some treatment for common diseases, which they alleged have good effects.

After receiving the treatment for a cold, a seven-year-old Tanzanian boy came across his friend, a little girl who came to see the Chinese doctors with her young and elegant mother who worked as a civil servant.

The mother who gave her name as Rose told Xinhua that she trusted the Chinese doctors, received the treatment even for herself, and introduced friends to come to the clinic. It was her who introduced the boy and his mother to come to see the Chinese doctors. She said the Chinese medicine was easier to use. The price of the medicine was also termed as “reasonable”.

In Lipyoga’s opinion, traditional Chinese Medicine needs to make more advertisement and promotion to let doctors and patients acknowledge the existence of the project to attract more patients.

Lipyoga, who respectively visited China in 2006 and 2008, commended the progress of China’s medical sectors as “advanced” as China practices its medicine without interruption from outside world.

Calling for more investment in the project, She also expected the cooperation between local doctors and the Chinese doctors could be strengthened to develop the Tanzanian traditional herbs.

For his part, Bai Wenshan, head of the Traditional Chinese Medicine team, expressed his hope that the project will be expanded to do much more medical research work.

So far, a total of 54 Chinese medical experts have worked at the hospital and 1,054 HIV/ AIDS patients had been treated. Although none was cured, 75 percent have had their health status improved.

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Jun
29

When Dr. Francis Yu started his acupuncture clinic in California in 1970s, most of his patients were Chinese. But now, half of his patients are non-Chinese.

“More non-Chinese Americans begin to accept the Chinese way of treatment, such as acupuncture, cupping and herbal medicine. Another truth is, at least in California, nearly half of those who have acupuncture licenses and operate acupuncture clinics are not Chinese but Americans who do not know Chinese,” said Yu who owns his two-storied TCM Healing Institute in Arcadia in the suburbs of Los Angeles.

Dr. Yu’s remarks echoed the recent press reports that alternative medicine is finding wider acceptance by doctors, insurers and hospitals in the US.

People turn to unconventional therapies and herbal remedies for everything from hot flashes and trouble sleeping to cancer and heart disease. They crave more “care” in their health care as more people distrust drug companies and the government.

California became the first US state to license qualified acupuncture practitioners as primary care providers in 1978. As of2004, California has licensed more than 9,000 acupuncturists. Now the figure is estimated to exceed 15,000. California constitutes nearly half of the licensed acupuncturists in the US.

Dr. Yu told Xinhua that in the early days, acupuncture was not accepted and respected by the mainstream. Most Americans did not regard acupuncture as alternative treatment. But as time goes by and when more US hospitals and research institutions set up acupuncture treatment centers, more Americans turned to the Chinese acupuncture and herbal medicine to cure diseases conventional American doctors could not treat.

He said recently one American lady on her 40s came from Florida to treat her pain on the neck. But Dr. Yu told her she needed to remove her plaque in her artery. She received cupping treatment for several times and when she went back to Florida, her doctor told her the plaque was gone and she felt much better.

She then recommended her friend, a 47-year-woman, to see Dr. Yuin the hope she can get pregnant. Dr. Yu said the treatment was going on, and he was not sure whether the lady could get pregnant at her age. But those cases show that more Americans are willing to try the Chinese way in medical treatment.

In California and other states, when a doctor has an acupuncture license, the doctor can give herbal treatment to the patients. Although traditional Chinese medicine is not legal in California, doctors with acupuncture licenses can treat patients with cupping and herbal medicine.

The legal use of herbal medicine was made possible 15 years ago when the US Congress decided to allow dietary and herbal supplements to be sold without Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Since then the number of products soared, from about 4,000 then to well over 40,000 categories now.

The increasing acceptance of alternative treatment such as acupuncture and herbal medicine was also made possible by big healthcare insurances that cover expenses of patients who accept treatment of acupuncture, cupping and herbal medicine, Dr. Yu said.

Although Dr. Yu said the government regulation seemed ridiculous for doctors to have an acupuncture license first before they can practice other Chinese medicine such as cupping and herbal treatment, it legalizes the practice of acupuncture and other ways to treat patients in the Chinese way in the US.

Increasing numbers of big hospitals and institutions, including Johns Hopkins Hospital and the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center, have established integrative medicine units that bring together conventional and alternative approaches to care.

The alternative treatment includes stress reducers like meditation, yoga and massage besides acupuncture and cupping.

Studies show that the number of Americans willing to try alternative treatments continues to increase. A 2007 survey by the federal government found that more than one-third of adults and nearly 12 percent of children in the US used alternative therapies, including acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy and herbal supplements.

But many mainstream physicians continue to be skeptical of alternative therapies, alleging their efficacy has not been proven and their successes may be nothing more than variations of the placebo effect.

Concerns over the effectiveness and safety of herbal supplement have prompted the US FDA to issue its first guidelines for good manufacturing practices to improve supplement safety.

The US Federal Trade Commission is also filing more complaints about deceptive marketing in herbal supplements.

source: Xinhuanet

Jun
10

Five Chinese drug firms have so far received seed viruses of A/H1N1 influenza from the World Health Organization. These companies are striving to have the first batch of the vaccine ready to go by August.

Researchers at this biotechnology company in Beijing are busy duplicating the seed viruses of the A/H1N1 flu.

It’s a critical step before the vaccine can go into production.

Zou Yong, manager of Quality Supervision Department of Sinovac Bitotec, said, “In order to meet the demand of large-scale vaccine production, we need to duplicate the seed one thousand times. The production period is expected to last 40 to 50 days. So we estimate the first batch of vaccines will be produced as early as the end of July.”

According to the State Food and Drug Administration, or SFDA, there are a total of 11 flu vaccine manufacturers in China.

Between them, they can produce 360 million doses a year. And of those 11, five have already received seed viruses from the WHO. The rest are scheduled to receive them by Saturday.

Meanwhile, China is waiting for the WHO to decide on whether the A/H1N1 flu should be categorized as seasonal or pandemic.

The SFDA says the scale and pace of the production will be decided by the spread and development of the virus.

Source: CCTV

May
05

SHANGHAI (Xinhua) — Chinese border police Tuesday arrested a man for selling fake influenza A/H1N1 medicine to foreign ship crews in Shanghai, the first such case in the city.

The man, surnamed Liu, is a rural migrant worker from central China’s Hunan Province, police said.

Liu confessed that he wanted to cash in on the fears over the fast-spreading A/H1N1 flu to sell so called “miracle” medicine to foreign crews at the Shanghai port.

A tip-off at around 9 a.m. led to the arrest on a Panama-flagged ship and the medicine was fake Tamiflu, sold during the avian influenza outbreaks, police said.

If any foreign crew members showed flu symptoms, they should see doctors rather than believe some so-called “miracle” medicine, police added