Researchers at the University of California San Francisco are recruiting patients for the first study in the U.S. that will determine the feasibility of using Chinese herbal therapy to alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy in women with early stage breast cancer.
Developed in collaboration at UCSF with Western breast cancer investigators and practitioners as well as non-Western herbalists, this study aims to scientifically evaluate the benefits of a Chinese herbal formula that is widely used by herbalists for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. In addition, the trial will assess any toxicities associated with the use of the formula in conjunction with chemotherapy.
After conferring with many herbalists around the world, studying past clinical trials of herbal therapies, and reading text books on the subject, UCSF researchers developed a formula consisting of a range of herbs that they hope will alleviate multiple side effects of chemotherapy. The formula contains 21 herbs and has received an Investigational New Drug (IND) license from the Food and Drug Administration which is necessary to conduct a clinical trial.
This novel trial is a crucial first step to integrating traditional Chinese medicine, where effective, into the standard of care for breast cancer patients, UCSF researchers said.
"Ultimately, we would like to develop a model in which we integrate the parts of herbal therapies that are safe and effective with those that we know are effective in standard conventional therapy, such as chemotherapy," said Debu Tripathy, MD, UCSF associate professor of medicine, director of clinical research at the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center and principal investigator of the study.
In the U.S., most women are diagnosed with breast cancer at an early
stage. Chemotherapy is being recommended more often as studies now show a clear
reduction in the risk of cancer spread, Tripathy said. However, he added that
Contact: Abby Sinnott
University of California - San Francisco