Various in vitro and in vivo models, such as human invasive cancer cell lines, human endothelial cell lines, zebrafish and mouse models, were established in our Institute for angiogenesis and cancer metastasis studies. The activities of different herbal extracts or natural compounds could be screened/evaluated and the underlying mechanism of action could be explored using our research platforms with biochemical and molecular approaches. The in vivo mouse models would further provide evidences for the efficacies of herbal extracts or natural compounds, which may lead to clinical application.
Apart from studying on individual natural compounds, the anti-tumor activities and the adjuvant potentials of Chinese herbal medicines in cancer management have been investigated. One of the study subjects is turmeric (Curcuma longa), which was shown to play important roles in colorectal cancer treatment. The potential adjuvant of turmeric extract to the anti-angiogenic drug (bevacizumab) in tumor-bearing mice has been firstly demonstrated in our pre-clinical studies.
Further research on interactions between Chinese herbal medicines and chemotherapeutics can provide more information on the safety and/or potential benefit of adjuvant therapies. This research theme is strongly supported by Hong Kong Government Food and Health Bureau (namely Health and Medical Research Fund). We have been successful in securing funding for conducting research projects on herb-drug interaction in breast and esophageal cancer management.