MEXT Knowledge Custer Initiative Toyama / Ishikawa Region

Hokuriku Innovation Cluster for Health Science
Contents of Reserch
Expention Program: The fomation of a joint-international R&D Hub(Under the leadership of Hokuriku)
 Standardization of Natural Medicines based on genetic, chemical and pharmacological approaches
Project Leader Katsuko KOMATSU
Professor, Division of Pharmacognosy, Department of Medicinal Resources, Institute of Natural Medicine, University of Toyama
Participating Research Organizations
  Toyama University, Kanazawa University, National Institute of Health Science, Toyama Prefecture Institute for Pharmaceutical Research, Research Center for Medical Plant Resources National Institute of Biomedical Innovation
The Purpose of Projects
Traditional medicines have been approved of as a complementary and alternative part of Western medicines, and evidence of its safety and efficacy has been required worldwide. On the other hand, a number of natural medicines have already been used as health foods all over the world; therefore, the standardization of natural medicines based on scientific evidence has been an urgent task from the global point of view.
The purpose of this project is to conduct comprehensive research on the botanical origins, chemical components and biological activities of natural medicines through the combined efforts of experts in various fields, and then to construct a relational database which integrates the obtained achievements for establishing international standardization. Meanwhile, identifying proper species to promote cultivation is also on the schedule to respond to the drawdown of medicinal resources.
Content of research and development
1.Collect source plants and natural medicines with a high potential for the amelioration or treatment of dementia and lifestyle-related diseases which have become social problems due to the aging of the population and widespread Western dietary habits.
2.Analysis of the nucleotide sequences of nuclear 18S rRNA gene, chloroplast trnK gene, and other regions to identify genetic markers for authentication and the deduction of the production areas of medicinal plants, and to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships among the related species.
3.Establish rapid and convenient methods (such as PCR-RFLP, SNPs analysis, DNA microarray, et al.) for authentication based on genetic markers.
4.Anti-dementia: Neurite outgrowth activity and the inhibitory effect from neuronal death in cultivated rat cortical neuron cells damaged by amyloid β (25-35) are used to evaluate candidate natural medicines and chemical compounds contained therein.
5.Amelioration or treatment of lifestyle-related diseases: Elucidate the active components in candidate natural medicines with vasomotional effects and inhibitory activity against arteriosclerosis, et al.
(The systems of evaluation for 4 and 5 will be established by the collaborators.)
6.Conduct quantitative analysis and profiling for the pharmacological-active components of natural medicines using HPLC, GC, LC-MS/MS etc. to elucidate differences among various botanical origins, and to select the elite species.
7. Develop a relational database of traditional medicines which integrates the obtained achievements of genetic, chemical and bioactivities analyses.
8. Monitor changes in the contents of bioactive components in samples which have been cultivated at several locations in and out of Toyama prefecture to identify the proper environment for cultivation, and to develop branded crude drugs with high added-value.
View to making to business
We have developed a DNA microarray for the identification of Ginseng drugs and have applied for a patent. DNA microarray design for the identification of new target crude drugs is undergoing, which will be useful for the regulation of crude drugs as well as health foods.
On the other hand, a database of traditional medicines will be created through the combined efforts of collaborators and will be open to the public. We aim to design a database to allow continual registration of data from other researchers all over the world. This strategy must facilitate the establishment of international standardization and the formation of a platform for researchers.
The effective utility of the database will provide benefits for the following purposes:
1. Guarantee the safety and efficacy of traditional medicines
2. Propose effective methods of utilization corresponding to bioactivity
3. Select proper species for cultivation
4. Discover new medicinal values
5. Ensure the sustainable utility of herbal drug resources
Provide seeds for the development of new medicines
The achievements obtained through this project will provide useful information to select proper species able to be cultivated in Toyama prefecture, and then by using them to develop new household medicines and new dietary supplements for the treatment or prevention of dementia and lifestyle-related diseases, and finally to establish area-branded Wakan-yaku products.

Standardization of Natural Medicines based on genetic, chemical and pharmacological approaches

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