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Home > Newsletters > April 2008 > Recent Research

Points - Recent Research

Phase I Trial of PC-Spes2 in Advanced Hormone Refractory Prostate Cancer

Trigger Point Acupuncture for Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis

The Effects of Rhizoma Curculiginis and Rhizoma Drynariae Extracts on Bones


Phase I Trial of PC-Spes2 in Advanced Hormone Refractory Prostate Cancer

Shabbir M, et al. Department of Urology, Frimley Park Hospital, Portsmouth Road, Surrey GU16 7UJ, UK. majidshabbir@hotmail.com.

There are few treatment options for prostate cancer once it becomes hormone refractory, with a mean life expectancy of 9-12 months. During the period 1997-2002, a product known as PC-Spes, containing a mixture of extracts from eight herbs based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, was reported to inhibit prostate cancer cell growth in vitro and reduce PSA in patients with hormone refractory prostate cancer (HRPC). This product was withdrawn from the market in 2002 due to concerns over quality control and reported contamination with traces of warfarin, indomethacin and diethylstilbesterol. PC-spes2, manufactured by Active Botanicals Ltd. (UK) with strict, independently-conducted quality control, has demonstrated no contaminants by high pressure liquid chromatography and liquid chromatography/mass spectroscopy. This compound was investigated in a single-centre, prospective, open pilot study. Eighteen patients with HRPC, mean age 72, median Gleason sum 8 (range 4-9) and median PSA 110 (range 4-2870) with three consecutive monthly increases in PSA were studied. Ten patients withdrew during the study period with significant diarrhoea (8 out of the first 10 patients at one month and only 2 out of the last 8 due to an improved dosing schedule). At one month, 7 out of 10 patients had a drop in their PSA doubling time or PSA velocity, which was still apparent in 4 out of 5 patients still on trial at three months and all three patients still on trial at six months. No serious adverse events or derangement of coagulation were observed. PC-Spes2 offers renewed hope and a safe alternative treatment option for patients with advanced HRPC. Further investigation with phase II trials is warranted.

Oncol Rep. 2008 Mar;19(3):831-5.

Source PubMed

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Trigger Point Acupuncture for Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis

Itoh K, Hirota S, Katsumi Y, Ochi H, Kitakoji H.

BACKGROUND: There is evidence for the efficacy of acupuncture treatment in knee osteoarthritis, but it remains unclear which acupuncture modes are most effective. We evaluated the effects of trigger point acupuncture on pain and quality of life in knee osteoarthritis patients, compared with acupuncture at standard points, and sham acupuncture. METHODS: Thirty patients (27 women, 3 men; aged 61-82 years) with non-radiating knee osteoarthritis pain for at least six months and normal neurological examination were randomised to one of three groups for the study period of 21 weeks. Each group received five acupuncture treatment sessions. The standard acupuncture point group (n=10) received treatment at traditional acupuncture points for knee pain; the trigger point acupuncture group (n=10) received treatment at trigger points; and the third group (n=10) received sham acupuncture treatment at the trigger points. Outcome measures were pain intensity (visual analogue scale, VAS) and WOMAC index (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index). The groups were compared by the area under the curve method. RESULTS: Five patients dropped out of the study because of lack of improvement, and one patient (in the trigger point acupuncture group) dropped out because of deterioration of symptoms; the remaining 24 patients were included in the analysis. After treatment, the trigger point acupuncture group reported less pain intensity on VAS than the standard acupuncture or sham treatment group, but both the trigger point acupuncture and standard acupuncture groups reported improvement of function of knee. There was a significant reduction in pain intensity between pre-treatment and five weeks after treatment for the trigger point acupuncture (P<0.01) and standard acupuncture groups (P<0.01) included in the analysis, but not for the sham treatment group. Group comparison using the area under the curves demonstrated a significant difference only between trigger point acupuncture and sham treatment groups analysed (P<0.025 for VAS, and P<0.031 for WOMAC). CONCLUSION: These results suggest that trigger point acupuncture therapy may be more effective for osteoarthritis of the knee in some elderly patients than standard acupuncture therapy.

Acupunct Med. 2008 Mar;26(1):17-26.

Source: PubMed

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The Effects of Rhizoma Curculiginis and Rhizoma Drynariae Extracts on Bones

Wong RW, et al. Biomedical and Tissue Engineering Research Group, University of Hong Kong, Prince Philip Dental Hospital, 34 Hospital Road, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong SAR, China. fyoung@hkucc.hku.hk.

ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Rhizoma Curculiginis (Xianmao) and Rhizoma Drynariae (Gusuibu) are 'Yang-tonifying' traditional Chinese herbal medicines used to strengthen bones. This investigation aims to assess the systemic effect of extracts of Rhizoma Curculiginis and Rhizoma Drynariae on bone histomorphology and formation, and their local effect on bone healing. METHODS: For the investigation of the systemic effect, thirty 8-week-old male BALB/c mice were divided into three groups: (1) control group, ten mice fed daily with distilled water; (2) Rhizoma Curculiginis group, ten mice fed daily with distilled water mixed with Rhizoma Curculiginis extract; (3) Rhizoma Drynarie group, ten mice fed daily with distilled water mixed with Rhizoma Drynarie extract. The mice were fed for five weeks before sacrifice. Twenty micro-tomographic slices with an increment of 0.25 mm were prepared to cover the proximal end of the left tibia of each mouse. Quantitative morphometry of the bone structure was performed. For the investigation of the local effect on bone healing, two bone defects (5 x 10 mm) were created in the parietal bone of each of the three New Zealand white rabbits. Two defects in the first animal were grafted with collagen matrix with Rhizoma Curculiginis extract; two defects in the second animal were grafted with collagen matrix with Rhizoma Drynarie extract; two defects in the third (control) animal were grafted with collagen matrix alone. The animals were sacrificed on day 14 and the defects were dissected and prepared for histological and ultrastructural assessment. RESULTS: Rhizoma Curculiginis and Rhizoma Drynariae extracts altered the bone histomorphology, both increasing the trabecular number by 10% (P = 0.002). Rhizoma Curculiginis extract increased bone density by 3.13% (P = 0.122) and Rhizoma Drynariae extract increased bone density by 6.45% (P = 0.005). Both Rhizoma Curculiginis and Rhizoma Drynariae extracts induced new bone formation on the margins of the defects. CONCLUSION: Two 'Yang-tonifying' herbs, Rhizoma Curculiginis and Rhizoma Drynariae, were demonstrated to have systemic effects on bone histomorphology and formation as well as local bone healing.

Chin Med. 2007 Dec 19;2:13.

Source: PubMed

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