Traditional Chinese medicine team preps for Phase II cancer study

The Wall Street Journal has an in-depth look at the painstaking work undertaken by Yale investigator Yung-Chi Cheng, who has been studying the potential of a combination Chinese herbal medicine in treating the harsh side effects triggered by chemotherapy. 

Starting with preclinical mouse studies, Cheng's team has used funding from the National Cancer Institute to support its efforts on PHY906, a blend of four herbs that is bidding to be among the first to be cleared by regulators for use in humans. There's a long way to go, of course, but the scientists have identified 62 active chemicals in the mix, which has long been used to quell gastrointestinal problems.

"If it's still in use after a thousand years there must be something right," Cheng tells the Journal. But in order to get into the clinic, Cheng has had to create a supply of carefully tended plants. A Phase II study for colon cancer patients is being readied.

Chinese traditional medicines have also attracted the attention of GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK). GSK recently launched a new drug unit that will submit remedies to the rigors of clinical testing.

- here's the story from The Wall Street Journal

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