The State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine (Macau University of Science and Technology) was formally established on January 25, 2011 upon approval from the Ministry of Science and Technology of China. It is so far the only State Key Laboratory (SKL) specifically in the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) over the country. It is also the joined-laboratory partner of the State Key Laboratory of Natural and Biomimetic Drugs at the Peking University. In Jan, 2014, we have already passed our constructive period evaluation and we have achieved approval and praised by the expert panel.
The establishment of SKL is an important measure of the Central Government in Beijing for its commitment to promote internationalization and development of TCM. It aims at promoting growth of the diversified economy and raising the level of science and technology in Macau as well. SKL will be mainly responsible for performing pioneering quality research and discovering novel drugs from Chinese medicines. The Laboratory is strongly striving for conducting original innovative researches, acquiring intellectual properties, nurturing talent young scientists for Chinese medicine research, and expanding high-level international academic collaborations as its goals. Synergistic applications of the multi-disciplinary and cutting-edge technologies are particularly encouraged so as to establish the most innovative and common scientific technological platforms for quality research of Chinese medicines and new drug discovery.
The SKL has been hosting almost 46 experts and scholars including leading figures and young talents from the well-known overseas institutions, include Chinese Academicians, Highly Cited Scholars in relevant fields, Chair Professor, Distinguished Professors, Professors, Associate Professors and Assistant Professors who have a global vision and international experiences in conducting research onto international excellence with bilingual competencies of Chinese and English. All of them have formed a strong academic team for research in the related fields of Chinese medicines such as analytical chemistry, Chinese medicines chemistry, biology, pharmacology and other professional fields. Our research teams have also reached 150 people.
Our SKL focuses on integration and combination of multi-discipline subjects and technologies, based on the innovative research methodologies and novel theoretical basis of the “3M” feature of Chinese herbal medicine, we focus on the quality control and application research of Gingseng and other precious herbals, anti-cancer, anti-inflammation, immunology, neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases research, particularly on research methodologies and quality control etc. The details include: Firstly, development of the innovative technologies, methods and standards for the quality control of precious Chinese herbs, the commonly-used toxic Chinese herbs, the herbs cultivated in Southern China, and the animal parts; Secondly, establishment of rapid identification and authentication techniques and standards for Chinese medicines; Thirdly, establishment of rapid authentication and quality control methods and standards for preparatory Chinese medicinal products; Fourthly, establishment of a technological analysis platform and standard for quantitative identification of the toxic substances in Chinese medicines; Fifthly, combining the methods of pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, and mass spectrometry analysis for developing appropriate standards for quality evaluation of Chinese medicines; Sixthly, developing intensive research on the quality control and safety application of the dosage form of injection derived from Chinese medicines, so as to overcome the technical obstacles such as the inconsistency and instability of the preparation, as well as the allergic adverse reactions of the injection; Seventhly, innovative research on developing novel dosage forms like the controlled release, targeting treatment, and nano-technological delivery system of the herbal products; Eighthly, discovery of innovative drugs, especially the drugs with new action targets and mechanisms, from Chinese medicines for treating cancers, inflammatory and metabolic diseases; Ninthly, establishment of databases for the safe usage of Chinese medicines in clinic and examination of the interactive behavior of Chinese herbs and Western drugs. As a whole, comprehensive guidelines for safety application of Chinese medicines are established.
For reaching the goals and meeting the need of main research areas of the SKL, our Laboratory has set up a well-defined framework of the research laboratories and centers, including the Laboratory for Bioassay and Molecular Pharmacology of Chinese Medicines, Laboratory for New Formulation Technology of Chinese Medicinal Preparations, Center for Quality and Safety Information of Chinese Medicines, Center for Safety and Quality Assurance of Chinese Medicines and Foods, Macau Center for MS and NMR Analysis, Center for Omics Technology and Innovative Drug Research, Laboratory for Bioorganic and Chinese Materia Medica Chemistry and Laboratory for Quality Assessment and Control of Chinese Medicines.
The SKL has purchased a series of advanced, sophisticated, state-of-the-art apparatuses and systems, including over 20 sets of various types of LC/MS and GC/MS spectrometer, and a series of apparatuses for evaluation of the biological activities of drugs in vitro and in whole animal, and the equipment for analyzing drug actions at cellular and molecular levels. Example apparatuses in the field of chemical analysis, systems biology and genomics technology research are: LC-SPE-NMR (600 MHz) (Bruker), 2D nano-LC-MADLI TOF-TOF System (Bruker), Agilent 1290 UHPLC with 6490 Triple QuadrupoleMS System, Agilent 1290 UHPLC with 6460 Triple Quadrupole MS System, Agilent 1290 UHPLC with 6550 TOF MS System, Agilent 1290 UHPLC with 6230 TOF MS System, Agilent 2D-LC Chip with 6460 Triple Quadrupole System, DeltaVision Live-Cell Imaging System, BD FACSAriaIIIFlow Cytometer, and GE Healthcare DIGE System.
The SKL particularly emphasizes on the establishment of cutting-age technical platforms by synergistically incorporating multi-disciplinary technologies and methods for investigating the complicity of Chinese medicines and developing quality control standards of Chinese medicine products. Accordingly, we have built a number of high-technological cutting-age platforms, including proteomics, metabolomics, glycomics, mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry analysis platforms. Other biological platforms include those for authenticity and identification of medicinal herbs based on DNA profiling and biological activity, real-time whole animal imaging, in vitro pharmacological activity evaluation on living cells, new drug screening platform using stem cells and nano-technology for pharmaceutical herbal preparations etc. (2014.9.1.)