West meets East?

Ever heard of Tasly Pharmaceutical, the Kanglaite Group or Lanzhou Foci Pharmaceutical? All three companies are either engaged in clinical trials in the United States or applying for registration in the EU with drugs derived from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Akin to the research carried out on malaria by Youyou Tu, TCM may offer promising avenues to cure some of the world’s most lethal diseases.

Recognition of TCM by Western drugs agencies however rests on the capacity of scientists to clearly identify the active ingredient, something rather difficult for researchers used to traditional methodologies (e.g., water decoction, immersion, etc.) to process herbs.

There is no doubt that important efforts will be needed to conform to Western agencies’ strict protocols of registration so as to ensure the safety and effectiveness of drugs derived from TCM. Time may have come for both “worlds” to cooperate and devise together strategies to bridge the gap between Western and Chinese medicine.