Professor Bian Zhaoxiang (left) and Miss Mu Huaixue are awarded a US patent for their Chinese medicines research findings


卞兆祥教授 (左) 與穆懷雪小姐的中醫藥研究發現成功獲得美國專利

Histological manifestation shows that administration of "Pd-Ib" generates remarkable improvement in mucosal architectural distortion


組織學圖片顯示「Pd-Ib」顯著改善腸黏膜的結構損傷

Date: 27 Oct 2016 (Thursday)

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HKBU scholars gain US patent for discovery of natural compound with therapeutic effect in treatment of ulcerative colitis

浸大學者研究成功獲得美國專利 發現中藥「馬爾康柴胡」含治療潰瘍性結腸炎的天然化合物

A study conducted by Professor Bian Zhaoxiang, Director of the Clinical Division of the School of Chinese Medicine (SCM), and Miss Mu Huaixue, Senior Research Assistant at the Clinical Division, found that a natural compound “Pd-Ib” extracted from the Chinese herbs Bupleurum malconense has been shown to effectively alleviate the possible illness arising from acute colitis. The research team was granted a patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office for the study. The team expressed the hope that “Pd-Ib” would be further developed into a new drug for the treatment of ulcerative colitis.

Ulcerative colitis is a subtype of inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation and ulcers in the colonic mucosa, and may lead to perforation and bowel cancer in severe cases. It has recently become a major public health problem in many affluent cities. According to statistics, Hong Kong has seen a drastic six-fold increase in the morbidity rate of ulcerative colitis from 1990 to 2010. The underlying cause of such a disease is still unknown and treatments with promising results have yet to be identified. As for current practice, medication is commonly applied to control and alleviate the illness generated from the symptoms of the disease. However the efficacy result has been unsatisfactory with patients suffering from a certain level of side-effects.

A specialist in gastrointestinal disease research and related clinical treatment, Professor Bian Zhaoxiang explained that the species of Bupleurum is widely used in the treatment of inflammation-related diseases, such as autoimmune diseases, inflammatory bowel syndrome and cholecystitis. Modern pharmacological studies have indicated that the bioactive components of Bupleurum help strengthen the immune system and serve the functions of being analgesic, hypolipidemic, antipyretic, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory. Bupleurum malconense belongs to the species of Bupleurum and appears to disperse heat and soothe liver qi stagnation.

In the study, the research team purified the natural compound “Pd-Ib” from Bupleurum malconense and evaluated its therapeutic efficacy in a DSS-induced acute colitis mouse model. The findings showed that “Pd-Ib” substantially reduced the disease colonic index and colonic tissue damage, inhibited the shortening of colon length, and suppressed colonic myeloperoxidase activity and nitric oxide levels. Furthermore, “Pd-Ib” exerted significant anti-inflammatory effects in LPS-stimulated RAW cells. The research results were published in the international academic journals Chinese Medicine and Journal of Nature Products in February and April 2016 respectively.

Professor Bian said that while traditional Chinese medicines and natural products vary in their therapeutic effects, this study scientifically verified the treatment efficacy of Chinese medicines. In addition, it lays a foundation and provides good reference for drug development and encourages researchers to further explore the potential use of different Chinese medicines and natural products for medication in the future, thereby benefiting the community at large.

中醫藥學院臨床部主任卞兆祥教授和高級研究助理穆懷雪小姐共同進行的一項研究發現,中藥材「馬爾康柴胡」內所含的一種名為「Pd-Ib」天然化合物,能顯著緩解急性腸炎所引起的身體不適。研究團隊早前就相關研究成功獲得美國專利局授予專利,期望日後能將該天然化合物開發成為治療潰瘍性結腸炎的新藥物。

潰瘍性結腸炎屬於炎症性腸病,可引致患者腸道發炎和潰爛,嚴重者會導致腸道穿孔及腸癌等。該病症在許多發達地區已成為其中一種主要的公眾健康問題。據統計,香港從1990至2010年的潰瘍性結腸炎發病率躍升了6倍。至目前為止,醫療人員仍未能確定該病的成因,亦沒有徹底的治癒方法,只能用藥物治療來控制患者的病情、舒緩病人的身體不適,但現有的藥物治療效果並不理想或有一定的副作用。

長期從事胃腸病研究和相關臨床治療的卞兆祥教授解釋,「柴胡」常用於治療炎症相關疾病,例如自身免疫類疾病、腸易激綜合症和膽囊炎。現代藥理研究證明,「柴胡」中的活性成分具有解熱鎮痛、抗病毒、抗炎、降血脂,以及增強免疫力等功效;而「馬爾康柴胡」則是「柴胡」的其中一種,有疏散退熱、疏肝解鬱的功用。

浸大的研究團隊從「馬爾康柴胡」中分離純化出一個名為「Pd-Ib」的天然化合物,其後進行小鼠模型研究,發現「Pd-Ib」在小鼠模型細胞中具有顯著的抗炎活性,對急性腸炎更有緩解作用,亦能顯著降低模型小鼠中結腸疾病指數,抑制結腸縮短,減輕結腸組織損傷,以及降低結腸內髓過氧物酶的活性和一氧化氮的水平。有關研究結果分別於2016年2月和4月在國際學術期刊《Chinese Medicine》與《Journal of Natural Products》上發表。

卞教授表示,中藥和天然產物資源豐富,具有不同的治療效用。這項研究以科學方法印證中藥的治療效用,為藥物研發奠定基礎,並有參考作用,有助科研人員進一步從各式各樣的中藥和天然資源中研發合適的藥物,為市民大眾健康作出貢獻。