Major aim of TCM-VASC is the discovery and characterisation of bioactive natural compounds from medicinal plants successfully used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) against Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). The discovery of such compounds is of great interest since CVD is the number one cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. For many TCMs beneficial action on CVD are documented, but their mechanisms of action and the responsible bioactive compounds are largely unknown. The identification of bioactive compounds that are responsible for the efficacy of TCMs will have a big social impact since it will contribute to TCM standardization, resulting in improved effectiveness and safety benefiting patients and consumers. Furthermore, such compounds might be interesting leads for the development of new pharmaceuticals or could be used as dietary supplements with health-promoting or disease-preventing properties. To achieve TCM-VASC´s objectives, medicinal plants traditionally used in China for the treatment of CVD will be selected based on the expertise of the Applicant (Dr. Rongxia Liu) and the Return Host (Professor De-an Guo, Director of Shanghai Research Centre for TCM Modernization). For identification and characterization of the bioactive compounds TCM-VASC will apply a combination of phytochemical methods that will be established and used by the Applicant, with a set of cell-based assays relevant for CVD that are available in the lab of the Incoming Host (Professor Verena M. Dirsch, Head of the Department of Pharmacognosy at the University of Vienna). The identified/isolated pure compounds exhibiting activity in the cell models will be further investigated, to obtain indications for their mechanism of action. Several of the most promising compounds will be ultimately analyzed in in-vivo models to assess their ADME (Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, Excretion) profiles.
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