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Joint effort urged in research

Hong Kong researchers have been urged to link with US experts to improve science-based research in Chinese medicine.

Linda Engel, an acting director of the US National Institute of Health's National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, said the centre wanted to see an international effort for research on indigenous healing systems and practices.

'We can marry the rich research experience we have in the United States and sophisticated technologies with the rich resources here [Hong Kong] of people who have the interest, expertise and knowledge of Chinese medicine.

'I think Hong Kong researchers should join forces with US researchers because that partnership can be very powerful,' she said after attending a workshop on Chinese medicine in Hong Kong last week.

Hong Kong Director of Health Dr Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun said that as the territory moved towards science-based Chinese medicine, local scientists should raise their research standards.

'Our history of doing research in Hong Kong on Chinese medicine is rather short relative to Western medicine,' she said.


'Our researchers should cast their eyes wider, have long-term vision and find the best institutions to work with.'

The US research centre is an amalgamation of 27 institutes with a yearly budget of US$27 billion (HK$210.56 billion). It has produced 58 Nobel prize winners.

In 1992, it set up its centre for alternative medicine.

Among herbal medicines already undergoing mass clinical trials are gingko biloba for dementia and shark cartilage for lung cancer.