|NCCAM Expands Centers of Excellence in CAM Research
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
(NCCAM) has added three new Centers of Excellence for Research
on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) to its centers
program. These centers will explore the biological effects of a
number of plant-derived compounds and preparations found in CAM
products, such as dietary supplements, on pancreatic diseases,
autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, and Alzheimer's disease.
NCCAM, a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH),
is the lead Federal agency for research on complementary and alternative
The Centers of Excellence apply cutting-edge technology to basic
and clinical research on a wide range of CAM practices and products,
and are one part of NCCAM's larger research centers program. The
program also includes Developmental Centers for Research on CAM,
which are partnerships between CAM institutions and established
research institutions to conduct exploratory research, and International
Centers for Research on CAM, which are collaborations of U.S. and
foreign teams studying traditional medical systems.
"The addition of these centers increases the robustness of our
Centers of Excellence research program and confirms our continuing
commitment to rigorous CAM research," said Ruth L. Kirschstein,
M.D., NCCAM Acting Director. "These multidisciplinary research
teams will work to uncover new insights or novel treatments for
health conditions that affect many people. The science conducted
will be key to understanding what CAM approaches may or may not
work and informing the integration of effective CAM practices into
the health care delivery system."
- UCLA Center of Excellence in Pancreatic Diseases
Principal Investigator: Vay Liang Go, M.D.
Institution: University of California, Los Angeles, CA
This center will study plant-derived compounds found in a variety
of dietary and herbal supplements and traditional herbal medicines,
including antioxidants such as curcumin (a component of the spice
turmeric) and lycopene (the component that gives tomatoes their
color), and preparations of green tea and Scutellaria baicalensis
(a plant used in traditional Chinese medicine). Using animal models,
the investigators will study the mechanisms and effects of these
plant compounds on the prevention and/or treatment of pancreatic
cancer and pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).
- Center for CAM Research on Autoimmune and Inflammatory
Principal Investigator: Prakash Nagarkatti, Ph.D.
Institution: University of South Carolina Research Foundation,
This center will focus on the effects of plant and herbal products
on preventing or arresting inflammation in diseases caused by immune
system breakdown. Using an animal model, researchers will investigate
the mechanisms by which resveratrol, a compound found in the skin
of red grapes, might aid in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
The center will also examine anti-inflammatory mechanisms of the
herb American ginseng in colitis and the actions of a compound
from hemp in treating autoimmune hepatitis.
- Protective Roles of Grape-Derived Polyphenols in Alzheimer's
Principal Investigator: Giulio Maria Pasinetti, M.D., Ph.D.
Institution: Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
This center will conduct preclinical studies to identify natural
compounds extracted from grapes, known as polyphenols that might
have a protective role in Alzheimer's disease. Using an animal
model, the research team will then investigate the biological mechanisms
by which these grape-derived compounds may affect changes in the
brain that are characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease and associated
with cognitive decline.
These center grants, which provide 5 years of support, bring the
total number of Centers of Excellence for Research on CAM to 11.
The existing Centers of Excellence look at a range of CAM practices
and products, such as acupuncture and meditation. To learn more
about NCCAM's Research Centers program, visit: http://nccam.nih.gov/training/centers/.
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.
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 www.nih.gov.