Chinese connection to blossom into better healthcare internationally

Health research and education is set to blossom under a new collaboration between the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences (CACMS) (opens in a new window) and NICM, Westerrn Sydney University.

The NICM Western Sydney University - CACMS Centre for Chinese Medicine Research aims to improve health outcomes through the integration of evidence-based Chinese medicine into international healthcare systems.

CACMS is China’s national institution for scientific research, clinical practice and medical education in traditional Chinese Medicine. The newly established centre will give NICM researchers access to CACMS’ unprecedented resources including its 17 research institutes, six hospitals and three education units with approximately 5,800 personnel, including 3,500 researchers.

The agreement builds on previous ties between the two research organisations. For the past 14 years, NICM has been working closely with CACMS through Xiyuan Hospital and in 2013 a joint centre was established which was recognised by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology as one of 38 international cooperative centres.

To date, this partnership has resulted in a notable Phase III clinical trial of a Chinese herbal medicine, which preliminary studies showed to improve the cognitive and memory impairment associated with vascular dementia.

There is currently no effective treatment for vascular dementia and if successful, this trial could result in frontline treatment for thousands of people around the world who suffer from this disorder. Recruitment is currently under way in 11 hospital units in Sydney, Wollongong, Canberra, Brisbane and Melbourne.

NICM Director Professor Alan Bensoussan said the new Centre, which comes into effect today, will elevate the existing research partnership and have significant positive impact on the scientific evaluation and internationalisation of Chinese medicine.

“This collaboration with the Academy is an extraordinary endorsement of the quality of NICM research and will allow us to cooperate to elevate the scale, quality, range, and diversity of studies that we want to do in this field,” Professor Bensoussan said.

“The promise of doing more systematic, rigorous research in Chinese medicine is significant. There is an extraordinary number of herbal medicines that are used routinely every day in both outpatient and inpatient hospital facilities in China for a wide range of illnesses.  Most specialists in Australia and the West know little if anything about these interventions.”

Vice President of the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Professor Yang Longhui said, “Through the sharing of resources, this new Centre will assist in the development of effective Chinese medicines, aid regulatory and commercialisation pathways and advance education and research training programs.

“We look forward to increasing the capacity and expertise in Chinese medicine research through the sharing of resources and combining complementary research strengths.”

The Centre was launched today at Western Sydney University Parramatta City campus with the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate the occasion.

Present at the signing was Western Sydney University Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Barney Glover; Vice President of the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Professor Yang Longhui; Director of NICM, Professor Alan Bensoussan; Science Consul Lu Ping, Chinese Consulate General in Sydney; and Austrade’s General Manager of Asia, Liu Bing.