Key Research Areas

The State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine aims at fulfilling the national goals and requirements stipulated by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China and Macau SAR government. The University will push the SKL forward to become a high quality basic applied research center of Chinese medicines with national and international standards, as well as a center for nurturing excellent young scientists in pharmaceutical science and industry of Chinese medicines with multi-disciplinary cutting-age technologies and for becoming an international collaborative center. Especially, the SKL would combine the state-of-the-art apparatuses with multi-disciplinary technologies to conduct world-leading level research in quality control and innovative drug discovery of Chinese medicines. Furthermore, it will be a pioneer specifically for solving the key pharmaceutical issues in R & D of Chinese medicines so as to achieve original innovative products and intellectual properties.

The SKL focuses on two academic and research directions, i.e the quality control and assessment of Chinese medicines and R & D of the innovative drugs. The key research areas include:

  1. Studies on the precious Chinese herbal medicines, such as the commonly-used toxic Chinese medicinal herbs, the herbs cultivated in Southern China and the animal parts, so as to establish innovative technologies and standards for quality control and assessment of those herbs. Especially, we will apply multiple LC-MS technologies combined with NMR analytical technique, and develop rapid methods for identification of species and quality of the precious herbs through establishment of the genetic bar code technology. We will also apply multiple analytical techniques to analyze the chemical composition and establish amass spectrometry-based analytical method to determine harmful pollutants such as heavy metals and pesticide residues in the herbs and their products.
  2. Studies on the quality control techniques and pharmaceutical standards of Chinese herbal medicine products. The key focus is to establish efficient innovative technologies for toxic ingredients from the current toxin-containing preparatory products from Chinese medicine, and standardization of the contents of toxic ingredients for safely application in clinic. To establish “efficacy testing - pharmacokinetic analysis - mass spectrometry measurement” three-in-one quality evaluation method to support innovative research and innovative drug development. Furthermore, we will establish integrated comprehensive analytical method of “chromatography - mass spectrometry - nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy fingerprint – biological effect fingerprint” for evaluation of the quality and stability of Chinese medicines.
  3. Establishment of quality control and safety evaluation methods for injections derived from Chinese herbal medicine. Since there are specific advantages of using Chinese medicines in the form of injection, the pharmaceutical injections have become popular for the treatment of major diseases. The standard of herbal injection form reaches the highest level of technological standards among standards of preparatory preparations from herbal medicine. However, the main reason for the adverse reactions of herbal injections is due to complexity of its chemical composition in this mode of administration. We will perform in-depth researches to investigate the safety and chemical composition of herbal injections using analytical chemistry methods, including a complete analysis of the chemical composition of an injection derived from Chinese medicines, systematic research on the production during pharmaceutical manufacturing of the injection, and deep analysis on the composition of trace macromolecules. We will study the correlations among chemical compositions, by-products and macromolecules with injection-related adverse reactions, so as to establish a series of standards for quality assessment and safety control method for herbal pharmaceutical injections. 
  4. R & D of the quality innovative drugs. Emphasis will be on R & D of innovative drugs from Chinese medicines for treating cancers, inflammation, and metabolic diseases. It aims at examining the pharmacological effects and molecular mechanisms of single bioactive constituents or complex formulation of Chinese herbal medicine, as well as developing appropriate technologies and methods including nano-technology for the dosage form of controlled release, sustained release, and target-oriented drugs from herbal medicine. We will target the disease-associated metabolic target network and screen for lead compounds from medicinal herbs. And, the newly-developed powerful tools of proteomics, metabolomics and glycopeptide spectra analysis will be employed for innovative drug screening. Simultaneously, we will develop methods for the study of pharmacokinetics and metabolomics profiling of the active chemical components and their products. As a result, a technological chain for innovative new drugs from herbal medicine including examination and control of the quality, efficacy, safety of herbal products, as well as identification of its molecular mechanisms and targets of the drug action, will be established. 

Provision of the high-technological consultancy to Chinese medicine professionals, researchers and industry to safeguard quality production of herbal products and safety application the products in clinic. We will focus on the establishment of the latest powerful analytical technologies based on mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry. We will also provide technical services for identification and characterization of new compounds, new drug targets, toxicities and drug metabolisms. The detection technologies on the toxic ingredients in herbs and rapid technical detection service on the suspected Chinese materia medica are provided. In addition, we will build up database and establish related authentication techniques in order to provide scientific data of the herb-drug interactions. And, the technological standards for the safe clinical use of Chinese medicines via examining toxic ingredients containing in the market-available preparatory products will be established. 

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