Home > Current Events > Year 2007 December
A review of stories making the headlines.

Traditional Chinese Medicine research JV sets up in the Babraham Bioincubator; first in UK
Silicon Fen Business Report (http://www.siliconfenbusiness.com), 1 December 2007

The new XiangCam TCM Research Centre at Babraham Research Campus, near Cambridge, UK is a collaborative project between Guangzhou Xiangxue Pharmaceuticals and UK academic researchers. It aims to clarify the science underpinning TCM theories and practice for a better integration of Eastern and Western practices in order to develop new healthcare solutions. Cambridge University spear-headed the initiative with Tsinghua University; other UK partners include the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which will authenticate a selection of TCM herbs prior to chemical, pharmaceutical and toxicological analysis by teams at Brunel University, Bradford University, the London School of Pharmacy and Guy¡¦s & St Thomas¡¦ Hospital. In addition to researching the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind the actions of single TCM herbs, or formulas including several different herbs, a further outcome will be a reference library for TCM standards. Promising discoveries identified will then undergo clinical research in China which may eventually lead to new and safer TCM products.

Chinese herbal medicine not to be used in '08 Olympics
China View (www.chinaview.cn) , 8 December 2007

TCM will not be used to treat athletes during the Olympics in order to avoid doping problems, according to an official with the Beijing Organizing Committee of Olympic Games (BOCOG). Dai Jianping, "It doesn't necessarily mean herbal medicine contains provocative substances. As other Olympic host countries haven't used it before, we choose not to use it too," said Dai Jianping, deputy director of the BOCOG's service department at a recent international medical forum. However, other TCM treatments, such as acupuncture, cupping and massage, will be used.

Iran, China to explore health co-op
Press TV (http://www.presstv.ir), 12 December 2007

Iran's health minister is to travel to Beijing for talks with Chinese officials on ways to broaden bilateral cooperation. During his stay, Minister of Health, Treatment and Medical Education Kamran Baqeri-Lankarani will meet with his Chinese counterpart Chen Zhu as well as the Minister of Science and Technology, Wan Gang. It is expected that a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the fields of hygiene, medicine and overall medical care will be signed. The Iranian minister is also scheduled to visit the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, the Chinese Academy of Medical Science, and the Tong Reng Tang Traditional Herbal Medicine Factory. At present, there are around 100 Iranian physicians in Beijing are taking part in TCM courses.

Baptist University bows to "profound and expansive" tradition with new museum
South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), 15 December 2007

Hong Kong Baptist University has opened a new museum of traditional Chinese medicine. Called "The Dr & Mrs Hung Hin Shiu Museum of Chinese Medicine" after its benefactors, it aims to bring the history and traditions of TCM to a wider audience in Hong Kong.

Wild mushroom can fight prostate cancer: Israeli researchers
Agence France-Press (www.afp.com), 15 December 2007

Israeli scientists at the University of Haifa claim that a wild mushroom, used in TCM, may be able to treat prostate cancer. These researchers said they found molecules in the Ganoderma lucidum mushroom, commonly known as the reishi, which help suppress some mechanisms involved in the progression of prostate cancer. "We already knew the mushroom could impede the development of cancer by affecting the immune system. The in-vitro trials we have done show that it attacks the cancer cells directly," chief researcher Ben Zion Zaidman. The research has only been done in Petri dishes. The reishi is found in remote, wild areas, often in rotting plum tree trunks and in heavily forested mountain areas.

China's anti-malaria medicine producers face market collapse
Innovations Report (http://www.innovations-report.de), 20 December 2007

There is now a glut of the anti-malaria medicine artemisinin, despite a shortage of the compound just three years ago. The development of alternatives led to the market being saturated with prices plummeting and forcing Chinese drug manufacturers out of business. The World Health Organization (WHO) and Novartis have worked together since 2001 to channel most of this medicine into Africa. China's annual supply of artemisinin now stands at about 150 tonnes per year ¡V roughly six times what Novartis and the WHO are prepared to buy annually. Only one Chinese firm ¡V Guangxi-based Guilin Pharmaceutical ¡V has obtained WHO approval to sell artemisinin in Africa. Chinese market analysts blame the Chinese drug regulator for issuing licenses to produce artemisinin too easily and for failing to close down unauthorised producers.

SATCM and Hong Kong jointly promote TCM development
China Corporate Social Responsibility (www.ChinaCSR.com), 21 December 2007

China's State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (SATCM) has signed an agreement on TCM with Hong Kong's Food and Health Bureau. According to the new agreement, cooperation will be carried out in regard to TCM including TCM development strategy, hospital management, talent training and culture exchange. Wang says that SATCM has a good relationship with Hong Kong SAR, providing technical support for Hong Kong's TCM development and recommending TCM experts to assist in Hong Kong's TCM course review and participating in Hong Kong's TCM qualification assessments. Guo said that Hong Kong's integration of TCM into its healthcare and tertiary education system has made great inroads in the ten years since reunification.

Province crafts new law to protect traditional arts, medicine
China View(http://news.xinhuanet.com), 25 December 2007

Chinese law experts are realizing the importance of intellectual property protection to safeguard the value of China's crafts, traditional medicine and plant genes against exploitation by foreign countries. The Guizhou Provincial Regulation on Traditional Knowledge Protection, the first government-level statute of this nature, will help safeguard China's resources. The draft is now subject to discussion and revision before it is submitted to the local legislature for approval in the second quarter of next year. The regulation stipulates that any foreign organization or individual, who studies, uses or develops traditional knowledge concerning genetic material without the approval of the owners, must pay between 50,000 yuan and 100,000 yuan in compensation. The necessity of this legislation is shown in the TCM area. Japan, for example, has patented 210 prescriptions listed in two ancient Chinese medical books.

Green tea offers hope in Parkinson's fight
South China Morning Post(www.scmp.com), 27 December 2007

The antioxidant polyphenol in green tea may prevent and cure Parkinson's disease, according Professor Zhao and his team of researchers at China's State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science. They found that this antioxidant is only present in green tea; the compound is lost in the fermentation process used to make other kinds of Chinese tea. In Professor Zhao's study, the researchers gave rats with Parkinson's disease doses of polyphenol that were three times as strong as tea drunk by a normal adult. Three weeks later, all the rats showed signs that they were overcoming the disease, their damaged neurons being repaired, and new cells forming. A one-year clinical trial of polyphenol involving 400 patients is now underway in Beijing. This research was published recently in the journal, Biological Psychiatry.

Compiled By:
Jennifer Eagleton, BA, MA (Asian Studies), Integrated Chinese Medicine Holdings Ltd.