Home > Current Events > Year 2009 September
A review of stories making the headlines.

Unilever opens US$72m center
www.china.org.cn, 9 September 2009

Unilever opened its first research and development center in Shanghai with an investment of US$72 million. The center in Shanghai, Unilever's sixth globally, covers an area of 30,000 sq. m. in Changning District and houses 450 research professionals. The center will actively promote Chinese strengths in traditional Chinese medicine, organic chemistry and other concerns.

Bureau calls for monitoring of Chinese medicine
Taipei Times (www.taipeitimes.com), 9 September 2009

A report by the Taiwanese Organic Laws and Statutes Bureau stated that the government should create a mechanism to certify and monitor the quality of Chinese medicinal herbs and ingredients. Taiwan gets more than 90 percent of its raw materials for TCMs from mainland China. Without a comprehensive mechanism in China to regulate and monitor the planting, harvesting, processing, packaging and marketing of herbal plants, ingredients could be substandard or contaminated during the packaging and storage process. Taiwan still has no comprehensive inspection system or licensing system to manage the import of herbs. Under existing laws, legally licensed importers can import medicinal plants with standard import certificates which are not inspected by the Department of Health at airports or sea ports.

Traditional medicine can cure swine flu: Chinese state media
Market Watch (http://www.marketwatch.com), 16 September 2009

Recent clinical trials in Beijing has showed TCM is effective in treating the H1N1 virus. The Beijing municipal government has invested ten million yuan to test the effectiveness and safety of TCM to treat swine flu since May 2009, according to Zhao Jing, Beijing's chief of traditional medicine. Zhao said that as of September 1, a total 326 of 845 confirmed cases of H1N1 in Beijing had been cured with traditional treatments, in tandem with Western medicine. Wang Yuguang, a senior expert with Beijing Ditan Hospital, was also quoted as saying: "Clinical tests have showed that traditional medicine helps reduce symptoms of fever, sore throat and cough. No side effects and adverse reactions have been reported."

Safety of herbal injections questioned
The China Daily (www.chinadaily.com.cn), 22 September 2009

A herbal injection that may have killed three people has triggered wider concern over the safety of TCMs, especially injections. Three patients in Anhui, Yunnan and Jiangsu provinces died between September 7 and 15, after receiving shuanghuanglian injections. The herbal drug is produced by the Duoduo Pharmaceutical Company in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. The Ministry of Health jointly suspended the sale and use of herbal injection following the deaths. Plants including honeysuckle, scutellaria and forsythia are the major ingredients of shuanghuanglian. The drug has been widely used to allay fever, as well as treat respiratory tract infections, mild pneumonia and acute tonsillitis. Health officials are now fast-tracking a national campaign to re-evaluate the safety of all herbal injections in China. Official figures show about 120 herbal injections are available in China, accounting for about 3 percent of the total 4,000 medications in the country. Experts said the reasons why the herbal injections cause problems are complicated.

Chinese researchers report new discovery in treating cancer with TCM
Insciences (http://insciences.org), 26 September 2009

In the recent issue of Cancer Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences reported the discovery of a mechanism of a herb in treating cancer. Researchers from the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica (SIMM) were looking into the herb, Euphorbia fischeriana Steud that has been used in China for treating cancer. Several compounds in the medicinal herb have been reported to have anti-tumor effects, but why they had these effects were not fully understood. The compound 17-hydroxy-jolkinolide B (HJB) isolated from the herb was discovered to be an inhibitor of the JAK family kinases. The JAK family kinases are important targets for anti-cancer and anti-inflammation drugs. This discovery provides a new way forward for JAK inhibitor drug research and development. It also helps to understand the mechanisms of TCMs in treating cancer.

Toad venom could help treat cancer
The Mirror(http://www.mirror.co.uk), 28 September 2009

Toad's venom, which has long been used as a TCM, could be used in the search for a cure for cancer. An extract of the toxin, which is found on the toad's skin, has been tested by US researchers 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 the function of the immune system. 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 percent reduction in tumour. More research is currently being carried out.

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