20 Jul 2011 (Wednesday)

HKBU study finds Chinese herbal medicine Uncaria rhynchophylla effective in treating Parkinson’s disease
浸大研究發現中藥鉤藤及其複方有效治療帕金遜症


Dr. Li Min briefs the media about her research findings
李敏博士發佈研究成果

IsoRhy induces autophagy in neuronal cells
異鉤藤鹼能夠誘導不同種類的神經源性細胞自噬蛋白的產生

Chinese herbal medicine "Uncaria rhynchophylla" (Gouteng)
中藥鉤藤

Basic research and a pilot clinical study conducted by the School of Chinese Medicine has found the Chinese herbal medicine “Uncaria rhynchophylla” (Gouteng) or prescriptions containing Gouteng, to be effective in treating Parkinson’s disease and the side effects of Parkinson’s disease treatment resulting from Western medicine. The research team has applied for a US patent for this research result, and will soon start the second phase of the clinical study with the support of a research grant from the Food and Health Bureau of the Hong Kong SAR Government.

 

The research was conducted by a team led by Dr. Li Min, Associate Professor of the Teaching Division of the School. The researchers identified an active compound Isorhynchophylline (IsoRhy) in the Chinese herbal medicine Uncaria rhynchophylla as a potential neuronal autophagy inducer which promoted the clearance of the pathogenic protein alpha-synuclein in the neurons of patients with Parkinson’s disease. This unique function of IsoRhy could contribute to the therapeutic action of Uncaria rhynchophylla in Parkinson’s disease.

 

Based on the pharmacological research, Dr. Li’s team conducted a pilot clinical study on the efficacy of a Chinese medicine prescription JWLJZT” which contained Uncaria rhynchophylla (Gouteng), Codonopsis pilosula (Dangshen), Poria cocos (Fuling), Atractylodes macrocephala (Baizhu) and Glycyrrhiza uralensis (Gancao) for treating Parkinson’s disease patients. From 2007 to 2009, researchers observed the therapeutic efficacy of JWLJZT on 47 patients, aged from 50 to 74 years old, who had been suffering from the disease for 18 months to 11 years and who had been taking the same type of Western medicine.

 

During the 24-week clinical research period, patients continued to take the same dosage of Western medications. Among them, 22 also took “JWLJZT” and the other 25 took a placebo. The study revealed that patients who received the Chinese medicine treatment had made significant improvements in their communication skills, and their non-motor symptoms such as depression, anxiety, sleeping difficulties, constipation and poor appetite had been greatly relieved. In addition, no obvious side effects were found in both groups during the study period.

 

Dr. Li said the research results were encouraging: “They provide not only pharmacological proof of the efficacy of Gouteng in treating Parkinson’s disease, but will also help promote the effectiveness and safety of Chinese medicine to the international medical arena.”  Dr. Li also extended her heartfelt thanks to Eu Yan Sang (Hong Kong) Limited for its generous support of HK$2 million to this clinical research.

 

With the grant of around HK$600,000 from the Food and Health Bureau, the team will commence the second phase of the clinical study soon. Parkinson’s disease patients aged between 18 and 80 are invited to participate in this 40-week clinical research. For enrollment, please contact Mr. Choi (Tel: 6700 8538 or Email: bucmpd@hkbu.edu.hk).

 



浸會大學中醫藥學院的研究發現,中藥「鉤藤」中的主要有效成分「異鉤藤鹼」能夠清除積聚於大腦、導致帕金遜症的異常蛋白 alpha-synuclein,從而可能改善帕金遜症病人的臨床症狀,以及減輕服食治療帕金遜症西藥引起的副作用。研究團隊已為研究結果申報了美國專利,並獲得香港食物及衛生局的研究資助,正展開第二階段臨床研究。

 

中醫藥學院副教授李敏博士的研究團隊發現中藥鉤藤中的異鉤藤鹼可以在神經細胞中特異性地誘導自噬現象的出現。自噬是生物體固有的一種清除異常蛋白、提供能量的保護機制,在神經退行性疾病中,自噬功能往往出現紊亂從而導致異常蛋白的堆積。異鉤藤鹼通過在神經細胞中促進自噬作用,加快帕金遜症致病性蛋白alpha-synuclein的清除,從而起到神經保護作用。

 

在此藥理研究基礎上,研究人員在二零零七年至二零零九年進行了以含有鉤藤的中藥複方治療帕金遜症的先導性臨床試驗研究,成功比較了四十七位病人服藥前後的療效反應。參加該臨床研究的病人年齡從五十歲至七十四歲,帕金遜症病史一年半至十一年不等,一直服用同一類治療帕金遜症的西藥。

 

在二十四星期的臨床試驗期間,病人每天如常服用同等劑量的西藥,當中二十二位病人服用中藥複方沖劑(成份包括鉤藤、黨參、茯苓、白朮、甘草等),二十五位病人則服用安慰劑。研究人員在二十四星期治療後進行總結比較,發現服用中藥複方組的病人的非運動性症狀,如抑鬱、焦慮、睡眠障礙、大便困難、食慾下降等等,有了顯著的改善,同時,他們的溝通能力也較對照組病人明顯地提高。在整個臨床研究過程中,兩組病人均未發現明顯的不良反應。

 

李博士表示,研究結果令人鼓舞,不但為鉤藤在帕金遜症的治療提供了現代藥理學依據,更讓世界醫學界對中醫藥的效用和安全性有更深入的認識。李博士感謝余仁生(香港)有限公司資助港幣二百萬元,使這項臨床研究得以順利完成。

 

研究團隊最近獲香港食物及衛生局約港幣六十萬元的研究經費資助,以進行第二階段為期四十星期的臨床研究,歡迎十八至八十歲的原發性帕金遜症患者參加,報名請聯絡先生(電話:6700 8538 電郵:bucmpd@hkbu.edu.hk)。

 

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