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King's-led consortium wins €1 million EU funding for Chinese medicine research

The project entitled 'Good Practice in Traditional Chinese Medicine Research in the Post-genomic Era' (GP-TCM) will review the current status of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) research, identify problems and propose solutions by applying modern methods of investigation, as well as providing a forum for the exchange of opinions, experience and expertise among scientists in the EU and China.

The three-year project aims to propose guidelines and priority areas for future research, and will lead to the formation of a new academic society, the European Society of TCM Research, which is to facilitate and foster sustainable EU-China collaboration in this area.

The research consortium consists of 29 beneficiary partner institutions and small-and-medium-sized enterprises from the EU and China. Partnerships with more than 20 additional non-beneficiary institutions, companies and independent experts are further strengthening its research.

Holistic approach

Dr Qihe Xu, Lecturer in the Department of Renal Medicine, Division of Gene and Cell Based Therapy, and coordinator of the project, explains: 'In contrast to the reductionist approach of Western medicine that is based on modern anatomy and cell and molecular biology, TCM uses a unique theory system and an individualised holistic approach to describe health and disease, which is based on the philosophy of Yin-Yang balance. These two medicine systems disagree with each other in many situations since they observe health from their own limited perspective. GP-TCM aims to inform best practice and harmonise research of the safety and efficacy of TCM, especially Chinese herbal medicines and acupuncture, in the EU.'

'The project will be divided into ten parts, which will review aspects of quality control, extraction and analysis of Chinese herbal medicines. Discussion fora that explore the role of functional genomics methodology in researching the safety, efficacy and mechanisms of action of Chinese herbal medicines and acupuncture are at the core of this project. New guidelines about good practice and agreed protocols in related research areas will harmonise future TCM research in the EU, and online tools and research resources will be made available to all EU member states. As an open-start and open-ending consortium, we will invite more organisations to become involved in the work.'

Share our experiences

Professor Peter Hylands, Head of the Department of Pharmacy and Director of the Centre for Natural Medicines Research, continues: 'We are delighted to be part of this unique group. In the Centre for Natural Medicines Research at King's we are examining the application of emerging technologies to the solution of difficult problems in the use of traditional medicines. This forum provides an unparalleled opportunity to share our experiences with Chinese and European colleagues and together to develop a 21st-century road map for the global development of traditional medicines.'

Professor Bruce Hendry, Professor of Renal Medicine, concludes: 'This programme grant is an excellent opportunity for King's College London to play a leading role in the unification of Western and Chinese approaches to medicinal therapeutics.'


Contact: Melanie Haberstroh
King's College London

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