The Guangxi Botanical Garden of Medicinal Plants (GBGMP) has developed an extraction process, which utilizes a series of chemical separations to prepare five extracts from each plant of interest. Initially, 800 botanicals that have been shown to have the potential to treat a variety of diseases via traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) were identified and grown and the GBGMP is in the process of preparing extracts from each of these plants. Since each extract represents 20 – 100 independent compounds, the 4,000 extracts that are prepared represent a library of 80,000 –400,000 individual compounds. Instead of isolating each independent compound from these extracts, a tedious process that entails years of work, the Tennessee Center for Botanical Medicine Research (TCBMR) has developed high throughput analysis systems using specialized cell lines in a microplate format to screen the five extracts from each plant of interest and search for extracts that show promise for the treatment of cancer, AIDS or other viral infections, and other important diseases. In our initial screens of extracts from 38 plants, we have already identified a number of extracts that have promising anticancer, antiviral, antiprotozoal, and immunomodulator activities. The research strategy that the TCBMR utilizes to develop drugs from botanicals is outlined below.
The Eight Steps to Developing Drugs from TCM botanicals