Bethesda, MD—Many complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices have evolved over thousands of years and from all corners of the world. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is funding new partnerships between U.S. and international research teams in a novel effort to study traditional medical approaches as they are practiced in other cultures. These partnerships have been given planning grants to create the infrastructure and scientific foundation for multidisciplinary research on CAM. The culmination of these planning efforts will be a competition for the NCCAM International Center for Research on CAM.
The goal of the Planning Grants for International Centers for Research on CAM (PICRC) is to establish global collaborations and cross-cultural exchange among foreign and U.S. institutions to design and implement research on CAM approaches that have emerged from traditional indigenous medical systems. These partnerships will allow investigators to conduct research in the unique environments in which the practices originated. It is anticipated that at least one of the planning grant recipients will successfully compete for the International Center for Research on CAM. All of the other grant recipients should be better poised by these planning awards to submit competitive applications for individual research projects.
“It is our hope that this initiative will encourage research in traditional medicine and result in research that benefits the health of citizens in many countries,” said John Killen, Jr., M.D., Director of NCCAM’s Office of International Health Research. “We know that 80 percent of the world’s population uses plants to meet their primary health care needs, so research on indigenous practices can lead to significant advances in global health.”
Two-year PICRC grants have been awarded to the following groups:
- Bastyr University, Kenmore, WA
Principal Investigator: Leanna J. Standish, N.D., Ph.D., L.Ac.
Collaboration with scientists and practitioners in India to develop an International Center for CAM Research on Ayurvedic Medicine. Total award: $284,446.
- Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY
Principal Investigator: Fredi Kronenberg, Ph.D.
Collaboration to establish a Center for Traditional Chinese Medicine and Women’s Health at Fudan University in China for conditions such as menstruation, fertility, pregnancy, and menopause. Total award: $270,523.
- Harvard University Medical School, Boston, MA
Principal Investigator: David M. Eisenberg, M.D.
Collaboration with the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Keio University (Japan) to establish the U.S.-China-Japan Research Consortium on Herbal Medicine. Total award: $263,031.
- Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
Principal Investigator: Paul S. Lietman, M.D.
Collaboration between The Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and the National University of Singapore (NUS) and other units in China to create the JHU-NUS Center for Research on CAM in Singapore. Total award: $274,480.
- Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
Principal Investigator: Henry S. Sacks, M.D., Ph.D.
Collaboration with the Foundation for Integrative AIDS Research in New York City and Gandeepam, an organization in India, to establish the HIV/AIDS Development Project in India. Total award: $273,670.
- University of California, San Francisco, CA
Principal Investigator: Frederick M. Hecht, M.D.
Collaboration with the Center for Integrative Medicine at UCSF and the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana in India to establish the Center on Yoga, Health, and Meditation. Total award: $256,980.
- University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD
Principal Investigator: Brian M. Berman, M.D.
Collaboration with the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Illinois at Chicago Program for Collaborative Research in the Pharmaceutical Sciences to create the Center for Functional Bowel Disorders and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Total award: $255,940.
- University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
Principal Investigator: William R. Folk, Ph.D.
Collaboration with the University of Western Cape, South Africa, and the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis to establish the International Center for Indigenous Phytotherapy Studies. Total award: $275,400.
- University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Principal Investigator: John D. Mann, M.D.
Collaboration with the Kyung Hee University in Korea to establish the Korean Acupuncture in Central Nervous System Disorders Center to study the use of Korean acupuncture in central nervous system disorders. Total award: $254,740.
- University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Principal Investigator: Margaret M. Heitkemper, Ph.D., R.N.
Collaboration with Ewha Woman’s University, Won Kwang University, and Koryo Hand Therapy Clinic in Seoul, Korea, to establish the Center for Women’s Health Complementary and Alternative Therapies Research. Total award: $272,472.
The PICRC is one of three new NCCAM research center programs. They were implemented following the review of the NCCAM centers program by an expert panel in 2002. The panel reviewed the original CAM centers that were established shortly after creation of NCCAM in 1999. Based on the lessons learned from these first centers, and in response to the evolving opportunities and challenges in CAM research, the expert panel recommended that NCCAM adopt a flexible approach to structuring and supporting research centers and encourage a greater focus on the pursuit of original science. In response to these recommendations, and based on the goals of its strategic plans, NCCAM designed the following three new programs to build its next generation of research centers:
- Planning Grants for International Centers for Research on CAM (PICRC) to stimulate U.S.-international research partnerships;
- Developmental Centers for Research on CAM (DCRC) specifically for CAM institutions; and
- Centers of Excellence for Research on CAM (CERC) for established research organizations.
Announcements of awards for the latter two new programs will be made separately.
“These planning grants reflect a new vision for CAM research,” said Stephen E. Straus, M.D., NCCAM Director. “This initiative affords a novel platform on which exciting research opportunities can now be pursued on a global level,” he added.