As a result of continuous GP-TCM networking efforts and collaborations established over the past 3.5 years, a new “Chinese medicine” related project has been granted by the European Commission to further scientific research studies in this emerging field. The project will enable collaboration between the University of Vienna (Coordinator of the new project, Prof. Verena Dirsch together with Dr. Atanas Atanasov) and Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica (lead PI Prof. De-an Guo). Together, these two institutions received 180,000 Euro EC funding, which covers the costs for a postdoctoral fellow (Dr. Rongxia Liu). The fellow will spend two years working at the University of Vienna, followed by another year in China at the laboratories of the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica.

Further project details are provided below:

Project number: PIIF-GA-2009-252881 TCM-VASC

Project title: TCM-VASC—Discovery of bioactive natural compounds from Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCMs) used against Cardiovascular Disease (CVD).

Funding scheme: Marie Curie Actions—International Incoming Fellowships (IIF)

Abstract: Major aim of TCM-VASC is the discovery and characterisation of bioactive natural compounds from medicinal plants successfully used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) against Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). The discovery of such compounds is of great interest since CVD is the number one cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. For many TCMs beneficial action on CVD are documented, but their mechanisms of action and the responsible bioactive compounds are largely unknown. The identification of bioactive compounds that are responsible for the efficacy of TCMs will have a big social impact since it will contribute to TCM standardization, resulting in improved effectiveness and safety benefiting patients and consumers. Furthermore, such compounds might be interesting leads for the development of new pharmaceuticals or could be used as dietary supplements with health-promoting or disease-preventing properties. To achieve TCM-VASC´s objectives, medicinal plants traditionally used in China for the treatment of CVD will be selected based on the expertise of the Applicant (Dr. Rongxia Liu) and the Return Host (Professor De-an Guo, Director of Shanghai Research Centre for TCM Modernization). For identification and characterization of the bioactive compounds TCM-VASC will apply a combination of phytochemical methods that will be established and used by the Applicant, with a set of cell-based assays relevant for CVD that are available in the lab of the Incoming Host (Professor Verena M. Dirsch, Head of the Department of Pharmacognosy at the University of Vienna). The identified/isolated pure compounds exhibiting activity in the cell models will be further investigated, to obtain indications for their mechanism of action. Several of the most promising compounds will be ultimately analyzed in in-vivo models to assess their ADME (Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, Excretion) profiles.

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