UT - Houston to Test Alternative Cancer Agents

December 1, 1995

HOUSTON--The University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center has been selected by the National Institutes of Health to be home to one of eight specialty centers that will conduct research into the effectiveness of alternative medicines used in cancer treatment.

HOUSTON--The University of Texas-Houston Health Science Centerhas been selected by the National Institutes of Health to be hometo one of eight specialty centers that will conduct research intothe effectiveness of alternative medicines used in cancer treatment.

UT-Houston is expected to receive $733,350 over a 3-year periodfrom the NIH Office of Alternative Medicine. The research willbe conducted in the Center for Health Promotion Research and Developmentat the School of Public Health.

Guy S. Parcel, PhD, principal investigator and director of theCenter, said that the primary aim of the research will be to evaluatethe effectiveness of biopharmacologic and herbal therapies forcancer prevention and treatment. Biopharmacologic therapies mayinclude biochemical agents, vaccines, blood products, or syntheticchemicals, while herbal therapies are those derived from plantssuch as the mayapple, periwinkle, and Pacific yew tree.

"Despite the widespread use of alternative therapies, manyhave not undergone rigorous scientific testing for their effectivenessand safety," Dr. Parcel said. The first task will be an evaluationof the scientific studies that do exist so that a research agendacan be set, he said. The Center hopes to begin funding projectsin the second year of the grant.