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The aim of our work is to determine the cellular mechanisms underlying the benefits of traditional multi-herbal Chinese medicines.

Ma group

The aim of our work is to determine the physiological/pharmacological mechanisms underlying the clinical efficacy of Chinese medicines.

Chinese herbal medicine has been used in humans for thousands of years and is often prescribed as a multi-herbal formula to treat disease.  The multi-herbal formulas are guided by the belief and theory of treating the patient as whole – holistic/systems.  Therefore, the specific targets of such medicine may not be as clear as for single chemical drugs. Our research interests are: 1) to explore the action mechanism underlying the clinically-proven effects of Chinese medicine, and 2) to narrow down the active components of the medicine using the extracted compounds in combination and individually.

The Oxford Chinese Medicine Research Centre was newly upgraded from our lab, the Chinese herbal medicine research Lab, which was raised from a one-year research project (1st Nov. 2014 to 30th Oct. 2015) to study the antiarrhythmic properties of a multi-herbal medicine, Xin Su Ning (XSN, 心速宁).  The initial studies showed that XSN prolonged the action potential duration in cardiac myocytes, resembling the action of class III antiarrhythmic drugs. It is well know that clinically effective, single chemical antiarrhythmic drugs can have adverse reactions in patients, some life-threatening.  Searching for effective and safe drugs for cardiac arrhythmias has been a major focus of cardiac electrophysiological drug studies for decades. Based on the initial findings a five years research programme was launched and a research lab was commenced on 1st Nov.2015. The newly elevated research centre will expend the research programme of XSN to include more clinically relevant research such as bioinformatics big data study to discover the effect of XSN on cardiac arrhythmias related biomarkers in in vivo settings. The centre will also follow XSN’s study model to discover and facilitate the establishment of search projects on other clinically effective Chinese medicine in a wider field of medicine. 

Our team

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