A Novel Combination of Chinese Medicines to Treat Advanced Cancers and Lymphomas

A Novel Combination of Chinese Medicines to Treat Advanced Cancers and Lymphomas In this recent study three common Chinese anti-cancer herbs were used in animals to determine toxicity and only at extremely high doses of 3000mg per kilo of body weight was any side effects seen.

Chinese medicine often targets more than one system and as such comprises several compounds, often in non-purified form, with treatments therefore consisting of whole extracts of herbs rather than isolated compounds. The additive and synergistic effects of a novel mixture of extracts from three commonly used Chinese medicine components; Ganoderma lucidum (ling zhi), Salvia miltiorrhiza (dan shen) and Scutellaria barbata (ban zhi lian), were previously demonstrated to have potent anti-cancer activity. This study was aimed to test whether this heterogeneous, multifunctional and multitargeted agent has an acceptable toxicity profile.

Tests were conducted to determine whether preliminary and formal preclinical tolerability determination of the combination in Sprague-Dawley rats. In the preliminary study rats were given the herbs by oral feeding daily for 14 days at doses of 1000mg/kg, 1750mg/kg, 2500mg/kg or 3000mg/kg per day. A subsequent daily dosing (x 28, 60, 120 or 180) formal toxicology study was conducted in male and female Sprague-Dawley rats at a dose of single dose of 2000mg/kg/day. 

Significant body weight loss was noted in one of the rats treated at 3000mg/kg/day, with decline beginning study day 11. This animal experienced mild GI toxicity in the form of diarrhoea. Gross observation indicated kidney damage (pale kidneys) in both this group and in one rat treated at 2500mg/kg/day. For the later studies, no body weight loss was noted over the course of the study. Blood counts and chemistry were not substantially altered following administration of this combination, nor were there any findings on histological assessment of organs. 

The formulation was found to be well tolerated in rat models and it did not cause any microscopic, anatomic or pathologic changes in exposed animals at the concentrations and under the conditions employed in this study.

Waterhouse DN. A novel combination of Chinese medicines to treat advanced cancers and lymphomas tested in rats. Chinese Medicine. 2009 Nov 27;4(1):22. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 19943929

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