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HKBU joins CUHK and PuraPharm to develop new drugs for treating functional gastrointestinal disorders

15 Nov 2016

An agreement is signed by HKBU, CUHK and PuraPharm Corporation Ltd to mark their collaboration in the first new Chinese medicine project with an integrative medical research approach in Hong Kong
An agreement is signed by HKBU, CUHK and PuraPharm Corporation Ltd to mark their collaboration in the first new Chinese medicine project with an integrative medical research approach in Hong Kong

The University signed a cooperation agreement with The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and PuraPharm Corporation Ltd (PuraPharm) last Thursday (10 November) to develop new drugs for treating functional gastrointestinal disorders. The collaboration is the first new Chinese medicine project in Hong Kong with an integrative medical research approach. Based on the two universities’ research into irritable bowel syndrome – diarrhoea type (IBS-D) – and their profound knowledge of Chinese medicine, a treatment called Ren Shu Chang Le Granules was developed using technology provided by the manufacturer. 

IBS is a gastrointestinal disorder whose patients suffer from bowel dysfunction, gastric disorder or intestinal hypersensitivity, all of which affect their daily lives. It is estimated that 10-20% of people globally suffer from IBS with approximately 310,000 patients in Hong Kong. At present, treatment of IBS focuses on the relief of symptoms and on lifestyle changes. However such treatment has proved unsatisfactory. 

With the support of the Innovation and Technology Commission, the School of Chinese Medicine of HKBU together with the Faculty of Medicine of CUHK explored how to treat IBS with Chinese medicines in 2002. The research team of the two universities took reference from the traditional Chinese “diarrhoea formula” and revised it into a new formula for treating IBS-D. The prescription includes Chinese herbal medicines found only in the Ling Nan area (such as in Hong Kong).

The new drug is the first Hong Kong research project to be approved for clinical trial by the China Food and Drug Administration for treatment of functional gastrointestinal disorders. The first clinical trial for “Ren Shu Chang Le Granules” will start in 2017 and the treatment is scheduled to be registered as a new drug in 2020-2021. It is hoped that the drug will provide a new treatment for IBS patients in the Greater China region as well as for the entire world.