School of Chinese Medicine, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Chinese medicine was used alone to treat all diseases and has been used as a main stream medical system in China for years of thousands. Nowadays, it is used in many other countries as a complementary and alternative medicine. Chinese medicine has its unique medical theory, diagnosis and treatment system. In the past years, it has been extensively studied by multidisciplinary approaches including bioscience and biotechnology. To understand Chinese medicine in scientific evidence, bioscience and biotechnology are powerful knowledge and technology in Chinese medicine research. As a drug discovery resource and complementary and alternative medicine, Chinese medicine rarely uses single pure compound or single herb, instead, it always uses blend of several herbs (composite formulae, or Fufang in Chinese) to treat diseases. One of the unique advantages in Chinese medicine is that it can use known Chinese medicinal herbs to create new composite formulae for new diseases such as SARS, new type influenza and other chronic diseases (cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, liver and kidney diseases etc.). This point has been accepted gradually by modern medical system, such as “cocktail therapy” for AIDS and combination chemotherapy for cancer. Here we will focus on some successful cases as paradigms to illustrate biotechnology and other scientific approaches on study of Chinese medicines in in vitro and in vivo models. The study was financially supported by grants from the Research Grants Council (RGC) of Hong Kong SAR of China (Project Code: 766211) and Wong’s donation for modern oncology of Chinese Medicine (Project Code: 200006276).