Combining traditional forms of Chinese and Western medicine could offer new hope for developing new treatments for liver, lung, colorectal cancers and osteosarcoma of the bones.
Experts from Cardiff University's School of Medicine have joined forces with Peking University in China to test the health benefits of a traditional Chinese medicine.
The team also set-out to examine how by combining it with more traditional methods like Chemotherapy could improve patient outcomes and potentially lead to the development of new cancer treatments and therapies.
"Traditional Chinese medicine where compounds are extracted from natural products or herbs has been practised for centuries in China, Korea, Japan and other countries in Asia," according to Professor Wen Jiang from Cardiff University's School of Medicine, who is the director of the Cardiff University-Peking University Joint Cancer Institute at Cardiff and led the research as part of a collaboration between Cardiff University and Peking University.
"Although a few successes, most of the traditional remedies are short of scientific explanation which has inevitably led to scepticism – especially amongst traditionalists in the West.
"As a result, we set out to test the success of a Chinese medicine and then consider how combining it alongside traditional methods like Chemotherapy could result in positive outcome for patients," he adds.
Yangzheng Xiaoji is a traditional Chinese formula consisting of 14 herbs. The formula has been shown to be beneficial to cancer patients – however, until now how it works has remained unknown.
Since 2012 the Team have investigated how the formula works, discovering that it works by blocking a pathway which stops the spread of cancer cells in the body.
"The formula has been shown to be beneficial to patients with certain solid tumours, when used alone and in conventional therapies, such as Chemotherapy.
"It suggests that combining the formula with conventional as well as new therapies could hold the key to developing new treatments for cancer patients.
"We are already looking to clinical trials in treatment of lung and other cancer types."
Funded by Cancer Research Wales and the Albert Hung Foundation – the results will be presented at the European Cancer Congress 2013 which takes place in Amsterdam between the 27th September and 1st October.