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05 March 2019, Volume 4 Issue 2 Previous Issue    Next Issue
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News
Complementary and alternative medicine for cancer treatment: magic or fraud?
Editor Group of TMR
1Traditional Medicine Research. 2019, 4 (2): 54-55.   https://doi.org/10.12032/TMR20190304107
Abstract ( 453 )   HTML ( 15 )     PDF (206KB) ( 119 )  

Quanjian Group, one of biggest health companies in China, is accused of making huge profits by misleading consumers. 18 suspects -- including Shu Yuhui, the largest shareholder of Quanjian Nature Medicine Technology Development Company-- have been arrested by Tianjin prosecutors. 

    The case first drew public attention on Dec 25, 2018, when Doctor Dingxiang wrote an article claiming that Zhou Yang, a 7-year-old girl, had died after taking medicine from Quanjian, which the company claimed had an anti-cancer effect [1]. 

   This Quanjian incident once again triggered people's thinking about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), with all kinds of health care products fulling the markets, claiming to be able to improve immunity, prevent and cure cancer. 

   On June 28, 2018, a warning letter from FDA to the American Chinese Medicine Association (ACMA), Inc. was published on the FDA's official website, which criticized them for the advertisement on the internet about the therapeutic effects of traditional Chinese medicine products on cancer [2]. CAM is getting more and more attention in cancer treatment, including botanical herbs, vitamins and minerals, Chinese medicine, Tai Chi, Qigong, acupuncture, homeopathy, physiotherapy, natural remedies, probiotics, Ayurvedic medicine, and specialized diet therapy, and so on. Patients generally use complementary therapies to improve their quality of life and gain psychological comfort/hope. But the efficacy of complementary therapies has been questioned for a long time. 

   A cohort study of 1,901,815 patients published in JAMA showed patients who received complementary medicine had a higher risk of death than those who didn’t take them [3]. However, the majority of citizens at home and abroad support traditional therapies such as Tai Chi, acupuncture, and massage. they said "I love acupuncture! The experience is extremely effective". "Every time after the acupuncture, the pain is relieved and the pressure is relieved". On October 24, 2018, President Donald Trump signed a bill called H.R.6, which aimed to find alternative drugs and treatments for pain and curbed the spread of opioid analgesics in the United States, which means that acupuncture and moxibustion will be hopefully recognized by the U.S. Department of Health as one of the pain replacement therapies paid by the Federal Insurance [4]. 

   Not only CAM, but also Western medicine has been brought into questioned, too. Wei Zexi, a 21-year old Chinese college student from Shanxi, died on 12 April 2016 after receiving the immunotherapy DC-CIK [5]. Wei's death lead to an investigation by the Cyberspace Administration of China, putting the immunotherapy under the spotlight of public opinion. Then immunotherapy was then discontinued in most hospitals of China. Where there is light, there are lies. In-depth mechanism research, scientific efficacy evaluation and strict supervision may be a light and protection for cancer patients. 

Annual advance
Annual advances of integrative pharmacology in 2018
Ke-Wu Zeng
1Traditional Medicine Research. 2019, 4 (2): 56-67.   https://doi.org/10.12032/TMR20190304106
Abstract ( 1150 )   HTML ( 26 )     PDF (464KB) ( 397 )  

Highlights

This review covers the research progress during 2018 for pharmacological studies on traditional medicine and active natural products. The pharmacological reports on traditional medicine against cancers and diabetes were still hot issues.

Traditionality

This annual integrative pharmacology review analyzed the different growth rates and progress of traditional medicine in different diseases, which is able to provide a comprehensive description of the hot spot and development.

Abstract

A number of researches concerning pharmacology of traditional medicine and active natural products over the past 12 months have outlined the importance of reviewing the progress. This annual integrative pharmacology review evaluates researches published during 2018 in different diseases including cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes and metabolic diseases, and so on. The emphasis is on bioactive compounds and extracts from traditional herbs, as well as the novel molecular targets and mechanisms. Moreover, some traditional prescriptions in China and other geographical locations have also been included.

Special Issue on Integrative Oncology
Advances in research on the anticancer mechanism of the natural compound cucurbitacin from Cucurbitaceae plants: a review
Jing Liang, Dan Chen
1Traditional Medicine Research. 2019, 4 (2): 68-81.   https://doi.org/10.12032/TMR20190225102
Abstract ( 1221 )   HTML ( 30 )     PDF (469KB) ( 547 )  

Highlights

This review summarizes the advances in research on cucurbitacins B, D, E, and I in inducing tumor cell apoptosis, cytoskeletal destruction, cell cycle arrest, and autophagy and in regulating various cancer-related signaling pathways.

Traditionality

Cucurbitacins are present in some traditional Chinese herbs (TCH) such as Gualou (Fructus Trichosanthis),Tianhuafen (Radix Trichosanthis), and Tianguadi (Pedicellus Melo). An ancient book named Shennong Bencao Jing (1602 A.D., Donghan Dynasty of China) has reported that TCH Tianguadi (Pedicellus Melo) and the dried fruit stalk of Cucumis melo L. have been used for treating jaundice because components present in these herbs induce vomiting and aid in expelling phlegm.

Abstract

Cucurbitacins are highly oxidized tetracyclic triterpenoids that are widely found in plants belonging to Cucurbitaceae family and exert various pharmacological effects. Many cucurbitacin derivatives are available, of which cucurbitacins B, D, E, and I are important members of the cucurbitacin family and exert anticancer effects against various cancers. This review summarizes the advances in research on cucurbitacins B, D, E, and I in inducing tumor cell apoptosis, cytoskeletal destruction, cell cycle arrest, and autophagy and in regulating various cancer-related signaling pathways. In addition, this review summarizes the latest research on the synergistic effects of the combination of cucurbitacins and clinically approved chemotherapeutic drugs. The findings summarized in this review suggest that cucurbitacins are multi-targeting and multi-functional anticancer drugs and that their complex anticancer mechanisms should be examined in future studies. Because of their proven benefits, cucurbitacins have the potential to be used as anticancer drugs in the clinical setting.

Hypothesis
What are the challenges facing cancer therapy base on the dissipative structure theory
Yue Yang, Ning-Ning Liu, Ming-Yu Sun, Qi Li
1Traditional Medicine Research. 2019, 4 (2): 82-90.   https://doi.org/10.12032/TMR20190225104
Abstract ( 646 )   HTML ( 13 )     PDF (303KB) ( 305 )  

Highlights

Survival with the tumor is to enhance negative entropy to resist highly positive entropy and then build a new relative non-equilibrium state.

Traditionality

The basic theories in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) likes “YinYang” and “Tian Ren He Yi” are all come from philosophy theory, which were recorded in the ancient book of Yijing and Zhuangzi (Zhou Danasty of China, 1046 B.C.- 256 B.C.). “YinYang” theory insists “interdependence or balance between Yin and Yang”.

Abstract

Cancer therapy is facing challenges. Since current theory could not have a breakthrough, we ought to find a new way to conquer cancer by exploring the emerging theory in cancer therapy. The complexity science, emerging in the 1980s, is the new stage of the system science development. It raises a series of transformation from humanities to natural science. Dissipative structure theory as a major science of complexity science, when applied to medical field, probable provide opportunity and inspiration referring to treatment. Dissipative structure theory, in brief, claims that a dissipative structure transform chaos to relatively stable non-equilibrium state through non-equilibrium phase transition. From the microscopic order, cancer composed by tumor cells is a dissipative structure, whose external environment is the human body. From the macroscopic order, the human body is a dissipative structure, whose external environment is the natural and social environment. The reason for tumor occurrence and progression is relatively non-equilibrium disrupted and negative entropy is not enough to correct high positive entropy. Survival with the tumor is to enhance negative entropy to resist highly positive entropy and then build a new relative non-equilibrium state. Innovative angle from the theory may enlighten us make the better use of dissipative structure theory in clinical cancer therapy.

Article
The effect of long-term traditional Chinese medicine treatment on disease-free survival of postoperative stage I-III lung cancer patients: a retrospective cohort study
Su-Tong Liu, Su-Fang Zhang, Kai-Qi Su, Ying-Bin Luo, Zhi-Hong Fang, Yuan Fang, Jing Xu, Jian-Chun Wu, Yan Li
1Traditional Medicine Research. 2019, 4 (2): 91-98.   https://doi.org/10.12032/TMR20190225099
Abstract ( 1190 )   HTML ( 15 )     PDF (616KB) ( 269 )  

Highlights

This retrospective cohort study showed that long-term traditional Chinese medicine as an adjuvant therapy can improve disease-free survival of postoperative lung cancer patients, especially in patients with stage I and II disease.

Traditionality

This study provided sufficient evidence that long-term traditional Chinese medicine treatment is associated with 5-year disease-free survival in postoperative lung cancer patients, especially in patients with stage I and II disease.

Abstract

Objective: Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been extensively used as one of popular alternative therapies for several cancers. However, it remains unclear whether TCM treatment is associated with longer survival in lung cancer patients. In this study, we explored the effect of long-term TCM treatment on patients with different stages of lung cancer. Methods: All information of lung cancer patients with stage I-III disease from January 2007 to September 2015 was collected for this retrospective cohort study. Those who were treated with TCM after surgery were divided into TCM group and the others were into the non-TCM group (control group). All patients were regularly followed up by clinic appointment or phone, and all survival data were collected from databases after the last follow-up in October 2017. Results: A total of 575 patients were included in this study, with 299 patients in the TCM group and 276 in the control group. For all patients, 5-year disease-free survival (DFS) was 62.2% in TCM group and 42.1% in the control group, and 6-year DFSs were 51.8% and 35.4%, respectively (HR = 0.51, 95% CI: 0.40 to 0.66, log-rank P ≤ 0.001). For patients with stage I, 5-year DFSs were 83.7% (TCM group) and 57.5% (control group) and 6-year DFSs were 73.7% and 51.9%, respectively (HR = 0.30, 95% CI: 0.18 to 0.50, log-rank P ≤ 0.001). For patients with stage II in the TCM group and the control group, 5-year DFSs were 59.4% and 17.6% and 6-year DFSs were 44.7% and 17.6%, respectively (HR = 0.31, 95% CI: 0.19 to 0.52, log-rank P ≤ 0.001), and for patients with stage III, 5-year and 6-year DFSs in the TCM group were 18.7% and 12.5% compared with 28.4% and 20.3% in the control group (HR = 1.06, 95% CI: 0.72 to 1.56, log-rank P = 0.76). Conclusions: This study demonstrated that long-term TCM treatment as an adjuvant therapy is able to improve the DFS of postoperative stage I-III lung cancer patients, especially in patients with stage I and II disease. However, these observational findings need being validated by large sample randomized controlled trials.

Total saponins in Rubus parvifolius L. induce lymphoma cells apoptosis through upregulated Bax/Fas and downregulated Bcl-2 in vivo and in vitro
Xiao-Feng Xu, Ru-Bin Cheng, Xue-Jin Zhang, Rui-Lan Gao
1Traditional Medicine Research. 2019, 4 (2): 99-108.   https://doi.org/10.12032/TMR20190304108
Abstract ( 616 )   HTML ( 14 )     PDF (749KB) ( 246 )  

Highlights

Total saponins of Rubus parvifolius L. (TSRP) induces Raji cell apoptosis by inhibiting Bcl-2, increasing Bax expression, and reducing Fas expression in vivo and in vitro. Additionally, TSRP has some effects on the chondriosome pathway of apoptosis in vitro.

Traditionality

Rubus parvifolius L. (RP) belongs to the family Rosaceae and is mainly produced in the temperate zone of the Northern hemisphere. As early as the Xihan Dynasty of China, Erya recorded that RP were edible. Bencao Shiyi recorded the medicinal properties of the root bark and fruit of RP, which include clearing heat, cooling blood, stopping bleeding, dispersing knots, relieving pain, diuresis, and detumescence.

Abstract

Purpose: To investigate the effect of total saponins of Rubus parvifolius L. (TSRP) on lymphoma Raji cells and further discuss its mechanism. Methods: The model of nude mice bearing Raji cells was established, the volume, weight and inhibition rate of the transplanted tumor were analyzed and compared after different concentrations of TSRP treatment. Cell apoptosis and expression of Bcl-2, Bax, Fas proteins were detected by TUNEL and immunohistochemiscal method respectively. Effects of TSRP on cell proliferation were tested with MTT assay in vitro. Cell apoptosis and expression of Caspase-9, Caspase-3, Bcl-2, Bax and Fas proteins were tested with DAPI staining and Western blot. Results: TSRP significantly reduced the volume and tumor weight of Raji subcutaneous transplanted tumor and induced the apoptosis of Raji cells in vivo. The tumor inhibition rate of high-dose (100 mg/kg) TSRP is 90.84%. The TUNEL test results show that the fluorescence intensity of the tumor issue treated with TSRP is significantly improved. Compared with the control group, the fluorescence intensity of high-concentration TSRP is 82.43 ± 7.81, which is significantly different (P < 0.001). The results of immunohistochemistry test showed that the Bcl-2 expression of Raji cell treated with TSRP is obviously reduced, and Bax expression is obviously increased. Meanwhile, compared with that of control group, Fas expression is obviously reduced. MTT assay showed that TSRP can significantly inhibit proliferation of Raji cells with dose dependence. The inhibition rate of 400 μg/mL TSRP is 53.46 ± 4.90% (P < 0.001). DAPI staining results showed that TSRP can significantly induce cell apoptosis. According to Western blot results, it is found that TSRP can significantly inhibit activity of Bcl-2 and increase Bax expression, and TSRP can also inhibit Fas expression. Meanwhile, expression of Caspase-9 and Caspase-3 is also increased. Conclusion: TSRP could inhibit the proliferation of lymphoma via induction of apoptosis in a time and dose-dependent manner. Apoptotic signaling induced by TSRP was characterized by up-regulating Bax, Fas and Caspase-8 protein expression, and down-regulating of Bcl-2 protein expression.

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