|NCCAM Expands Research Centers Program with Three Centers
of Excellence and Two International Centers
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) announces
funding of three centers of excellence and two international centers for the
study of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). With these new awards
NCCAM, a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), continues to enhance
CAM research capacity by funding centers at leading U.S. institutions and by
establishing new global partnerships.
Three of the five new centers will explore therapies used in traditional Chinese
medicine, including acupuncture and Chinese herbal mixtures. The other two centers
will study a type of energy medicine (millimeter wave therapy) and botanical
therapies used by traditional healers in Africa.
“We are excited by the addition of these centers to our research program and
the unique collaborations and approaches they bring to studies of CAM practices,” said
Stephen E. Straus, M.D., NCCAM Director. “All five centers will strengthen our
research portfolio for major health problems — HIV/AIDS, arthritis, asthma,
and pain. Plus, the new international centers will conduct basic and clinical
studies of promising CAM interventions drawn from traditional medicine indigenous
to the locations of international partners.”
Centers of Excellence for Research on CAM
The three new Centers of Excellence provide 5 years of support for experienced
researchers at some of the Nation’s leading universities. These researchers
apply cutting-edge technologies to identify the potential benefits and underlying
mechanisms of CAM practices. The three new centers and their first year funding
- Center for Arthritis and Traditional Chinese Medicine; $1,197,651
Principal Investigator: Brian Berman, M.D.
Institution: University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland
This center will study traditional Chinese medicine approaches — acupuncture
and herbs — for the treatment of arthritis. Researchers will conduct
a clinical trial of an 11-herb Chinese formula (known as HLXL) for osteoarthritis
of the knee; assess acupuncture’s effect on inflammatory pain in an animal
model; and study the efficacy of HLXL in an animal model of autoimmune arthritis.
- Center for Chinese Herbal Therapy; $1,144,274
Principal Investigator: Xiu-Min Li, M.D.
Institution: Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
Center researchers will investigate a three-herb Chinese formula (known as
ASHMI) as a therapy for allergic asthma. Studies of the herbal formula will
look at mechanism of action in an animal model, characterize the herbs’ active
components, and investigate the formula’s use in asthma patients.
- Center for Mechanisms Underlying Millimeter Wave Therapy; $1,025,895
Principal Investigator: Marvin Ziskin, M.D.
Institution: Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
This center will study the mechanisms of action of millimeter wave therapy
(use of low-intensity millimeter wavelength electromagnetic waves) for a variety
of diseases and conditions, as well as looking at the therapy’s use in animal
models of chronic neuropathic pain and pruritis (itching).
International Centers for Research on CAM
The International Centers for Research on CAM are the outgrowth of planning grants
awarded by NCCAM to 11 international teams in 2003. These teams had 2 years
to develop a research collaboration and infrastructure that could compete for
4-year centers grants. The recipients of these international centers grants
will now carry out research on CAM and traditional medicine practices in countries
where the practices are indigenous. These partnerships between researchers
in U.S. and foreign institutions will address whether the traditional practices
can aid in health care locally and globally and build CAM research capacity
internationally. Co-funders for these centers include NIH’s Office of Dietary
Supplements, Office of AIDS Research, and Fogarty International Center. In
addition, the National Cancer Institute will fund a third international center.
The two NCCAM recipients and their first year funding totals are:
- Functional Bowel Disorders in Chinese Medicine; $807,253
Principal Investigator: Brian Berman, M.D
Partner Institutions: University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD; Chinese University
of Hong Kong, China; University of Illinois, Chicago, IL; University of Western
Sydney, Sydney, Australia
This center will conduct multidisciplinary research on traditional Chinese
medicine (TCM) practices — acupuncture and herbs — for the treatment
of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Researchers will study effects of acupuncture
and a TCM herbal preparation in an animal model of IBS and conduct a preliminary
study of the herbal preparation with IBS patients.
- The International Center for Indigenous Phytotherapy Studies: HIV/AIDS,
Secondary Infections and Immune Modulation; $1,100,000
Principal Investigator: William Folk, Ph.D.
Partner Institutions: University of Missouri, Columbia, MO; University of the
Western Cape, Bellville, Republic of South Africa; along with University of
KwaZulu-Natal, University of Cape Town, and the South African Medical Research
This center will study the safety and efficacy of traditional African plant-based
therapies already in wide-spread use for HIV/AIDS and some of its secondary
infections. Researchers will conduct a small clinical trial using sutherlandia
(Lessertia frutescens) in adults with HIV and conduct preclinical
and clinical research with African wormwood (Artemisia afra), which
is used by traditional healers for treatment of many conditions seen in people
The National Cancer Institute will fund the:
- International Center of Traditional Chinese Medicine for Cancer
Principal Investigator: Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D.
Partner Institutions: M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX; Fudan University
Cancer Hospital, Shanghai, China
This center will conduct preclinical and clinical studies of TCM approaches — herbs,
acupuncture, and qi gong — for treating cancer and its symptoms, as well
as treatment-related side effects.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine’s mission
is to explore complementary and alternative medical practices in the context
of rigorous science, train CAM researchers, and disseminate authoritative information
to the public and professionals. For additional information, call NCCAM’s Clearinghouse
toll free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCAM Web site at nccam.nih.gov.
NCCAM is 1 of 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health,
the Federal focal point for medical research in the United States.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research
Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of
the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary Federal
agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical
research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common
and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.