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National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The Center for Integrative Medicine has been a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Center of Excellence for research in complementary medicine since 1995. We are also a NIH International Center for research in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

Center of Excellence for Research of Traditional Chinese Medicine for Arthritis

In 2005, pursuant to competitive reapplication for center status, the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) awarded us a PO1 center grant (principal investigator: Brian Berman) to study traditional Chinese medicine modalities in the treatment of arthritis. This work expands upon the work that has already been accomplished through our previous NIH funded P50 AT00084 Center for Alternative Medicine Research of Arthritis.

The proposal contains three projects and three supporting cores. The three projects are examining the safety, efficacy and mechanism of action associated with acupuncture and a traditional Chinese herbal formula for arthritis.

  • Project 1 will be a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, phase II dose-escalation clinical trial to find an optimally effective, safe, and tolerable dosage of an 11-herb extract of the herbal compound Huo-Luo-Xiao-Ling (HLXL) Dan as adjunctive treatment in patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee.

  • Project 2 investigates the mechanism of action of electroacupuncture (EA) (previously shown by our Center to be safe and effective in the treatment of knee OA) and is based on the prior conclusion that EA produces a prolonged anti-inflammatory and anti-hyperalgesic effect. In specific, Project 2 is centered on the hypothesis that the mechanism of this therapeutic action originates with the release of neuropeptides from the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal gland axis.

  • Project 3 is based on our preliminary findings of the anti-arthritic effect of HLXL, the Chinese herbal formula used in Project 1. It will test the hypothesis that the protective/beneficial effect of HLXL in arthritis involves selective modulation of the level and type (Th1/Th2) of T cell responses to the pathogenic and/or regulatory determinants within the disease-related antigen (mycobacterial hsp65 – Bhsp65).

International Center for Research on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (ICRC)

The overarching goal of the International Center for Research on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (ICRC) (principal investigators: Brian Berman, Joseph Sung) is to continue development of a sustainable international research collaboration that contributes to the preservation of knowledge and implementation of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in Hong Kong and China, and to assess unique characteristics of TCM that can contribute to global health. To achieve this goal, we are:

  • Facilitating and supporting the ongoing multi-disciplinary collaboration among investigators at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland Baltimore (CIM), the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), the University of Western Sydney (UWS), and Mayo Medical Center;

  • Conducting rigorous, high quality research on functional bowel disorders and TCM at CUHK in order to integrate scientific rigor with traditional, indigenous knowledge in this area;

  • Establishing an evidence-base regarding the efficacy and safety of TCM as a treatment for functional bowel disorders; and

  • Providing for the mechanisms to achieve a sustainable research collaboration.

The center is conducting three integrated projects related to functional bowel disorders and TCM, supported by three cores. The three projects are:

  • Project 1: To evaluate the effect of electroacupuncture on behavioral and visceral responses to pain and colonic, spinal, and central serotonergic systems;

  • Project 2: Evaluate the safety, adverse effects, and potential toxicity of a TCM herbal preparation and establish the biological potency using an in vitro ileal preparation.

  • Project 3: Human pilot clinical trial evaluating the safety and dose-response profile of the TCM herbal formulation used in Project 2 in individuals with IBS.

Both centers are supported by:

  • A Data Management & Statistical Analysis Core that supports the design, conduct and analysis of each of the projects as well as provides all necessary information to the Data Safety and Monitoring Board.

  • A Botanical Core that establishes a quality assurance program covering all aspects of production from source materials, extraction, standardization and formulation of the herbal products.

  • An Administrative Core that maximizes the synergy among the projects and provides support and oversight to the Centers.