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Ancient Chinese medicine may help chemotherapy patients
Date:8/18/2010

This release is also available in Chinese.

A centuries‑old traditional Chinese medicine may reduce the intestinal side effects of chemotherapy in cancer patients by stimulating gut cell division and reducing inflammation, a new study in mice suggests.

The research will appear in the Wednesday, 18 August issue of Science Translational Medicine, which is published by AAAS, the nonprofit science society.

Peonies and a pretty purple flower called skullcap, together with licorice and fruit from a buckthorn tree form Huang Qin Tang (pronounced Hu-ang Chin Tong), an ancient herbal medicine used in China to treat intestinal disorders such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Recently, a Western-style phase 1/2 trial confirmed that this drug reduces gut damage caused by chemotherapy in colon and rectal cancer patients.

In the new study, Yung- Chi Cheng, along with Wing Lam and colleagues from Yale University School of Medicine and a company called PhytoCeutica, Inc. use a carefully prepared, lab formulation of this medicine (called PHY906) and show that the healing effects of this blend of plants arise from its ability to target numerous biological processes in mice.

"The reductionist approach to treating multiple side effects triggered by cancer chemotherapy or complicated disease may not be sufficient. Rigorous studies of the biology of traditional herbal medicines, which target multiple sites with multiple chemicals, could lead to the development of future medicines," said Cheng.

Dr. Cheng is a scientific founder of and has equity interest in PhytoCeutica, Inc., which develops traditional Chinese medicine into drugs for the treatment of cancer and that licenses PHY906 from Yale University. Additionally, two authors of this paper own stock in PhytoCeutica, Inc. Yale University holds a patent on the herbal composition PHY906 and i
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Contact: Natasha Pinol
npinol@aaas.org
202-326-7088
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Source:Eurekalert

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