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Last Updated: 11/9/12

Spring 2009, Vol. 4 Issue 1


Rare Plant Compounds from China Undergo Screening at NCI

In July 2008, the United States government signed a research agreement with China to foster collaboration between researchers studying integrative and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in both countries. One of the first and most promising of these projects is a partnership between the Kunming Institute of Botany (KIB) of China Academy of Sciences and two groups at the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM) began to oversee the growing collaboration after a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between KIB and NCI in October 2008. KIB will supply rare and promising specimens, while the Natural Products Branch (NPB) and the Developmental Therapeutics Program (DTP) will screen them in NCI’s system of 60 human cancer cell lines. If any compounds show promise, more drug analysis and development would follow, said Libin Jia, M.D., health scientist administrator at OCCAM.

KIB’s researchers collect and study plant specimens indigenous to their environment, a high-mountain plateau in southwest China that also extends into Tibet. Plants that thrive there could be called “extremophiles,” said David Newman, Ph.D., NPB chief.

U.S. DHHS Secretary Leavitt and Chinese Vice-Minister of Health Guoquiang sign MOU
KIB’s State Key Laboratory of Phytochemistry and Plant Resources

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NCI CAM News is produced by the Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM). The Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM) was established in October 1998 to coordinate and support the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) activities related to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). OCCAM also serves as a focal point for NCI’s collaboration with other governmental and non-governmental organizations on cancer CAM issues.

For inquiries on CAM and cancer, call 1-800-4-CANCER or visit

Contact Information

Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine
9609 Medical Center Drive
Bethesda, Maryland 20892

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