Yale Researcher Receives NCI Award to Study Chinese Herbal Medicine for the Treatment of Cancer

Yale researcher, Yung-Chi Cheng, PhD, Henry Bronson Professor of Pharmacology, Director of the Therapeutics/Chemotherapy Program and Chairman of the Consortium for the Globalization of Chinese Medicine (CGCM), was recently awarded a Program Project Grant (P01) from the National Cancer Institute for a total of $6,735,767.00. The project title is “Chinese Herbal Medicine as a Novel Paradigm for Cancer Chemotherapy” and is the first PO1 grant awarded by the NCI to explore Chinese medicine for the treatment of cancer.

The focus of this study is to explore PHY906, a 4-herb Chinese medicine based on a 1,800 year old traditional Chinese formula, also known as Huang Qin Tang, in a clinical phase II setting as adjuvant therapy for Irinotecan based chemotherapy in advanced colon carcinoma. Dr. Cheng will be working in collaboration with Dr. Edward Chu at the University of Pittsburgh and Dr. Hongyu Zhao at the Yale School of Public Health. Clinical studies will be conducted at the University of Pittsburgh with Dr. Chu, at Yale with Dr. Howard Hochster, and at City of Hope with Dr. Yun Yen.

“One of the major side effects of treatment with Irinotecan is diarrhea, which in some cases can be severe,” said Dr. Cheng. “Based on pre-clinical studies and phase I/II clinical trials, PHY906 has the potential to decrease gastrointestinal tract side effects such as diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, fever, and headache, as well as enhance antitumor activity of chemotherapy.”

The award is supported by joint sources of

funding from the NCI, the Center for Alternative Medicine and the Office of

Dietary Supplements of the NIH.

This article was submitted by Justin Fansler on October 19, 2011.