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Researchers Funded by National Institutes of Health to Present Sessions at SupplySide

PHOENIX -- Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will provide scientific presentations Oct. 1 as part of the expanded SupplySide West 2003 seminar program, according to show producer Virgo Publishing Inc. The education program is sponsored by Cognis Nutrition and Health, a supplier of health enhancing, natural ingredients for dietary supplements and foods.

The sessions will include presentations by scientists from each of the six NIH-funded Dietary Supplement Research Centers focused on botanicals. Dietary supplement ingredients being studied include soy isoflavones, tea catechins, grape seed extract, ginger, turmeric, St. John's wort, black cohosh and echinacea. The research centers resulted from a 1999 congressional mandate to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the NIH. Center funding is provided by the ODS in collaboration with the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

The Office of Research on Women's Health and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences at NIH also provide support. Christine Swanson, Ph.D., program director of the Dietary Supplement Research Centers for the ODS will also participate in the seminar program.

"This precedent-setting event provides invaluable opportunities for industry to learn what our government is doing to support research in many areas they may not be aware of, and it also allows those in influential positions to better understand the science and business behind our products," said Paul Allen, Cognis' Group Vice President. "We applaud Virgo and the NIH-funded research centers for working together to make this happen, and we are proud to support their efforts."

The research centers are as follows:
Purdue University and University of Alabama Botanicals Research Center for Age Related Diseases
Center Director: Dr. Connie Weaver
Center Website:

Research Projects:
• Grape Polyphenols and Neuroprotection
• Tea Catechins and Cancer
• Soy Isoflavones and Bone Resorption
• Polyphenols and Inflammation

Description: The Center studies the health effects of plants containing polyphenols (a diverse group of chemical components widely distributed in plants), many of which are consumed both for their nutritive value and purported medicinal properties.

Examples include soy, grapes, green tea, berries and several other plants. The speculated health-promoting effects of polyphenols are generally attributed to their antioxidant action, but other biological mechanisms may be involved and will be explored. Soy isoflavones, for example, function as phytoestrogens that may play a role in bone metabolism. The proposed research agenda of the Purdue Center is clinically relevant to the two leading causes of death in the U.S., heart disease and cancer, and to two leading causes of diminished quality of life, osteoporosis and cognitive decline. The Purdue researchers collaborate closely with investigators at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). The UAB research efforts are directed by Stephen Barnes, Ph.D.

The University of Arizona Center for Phytomedicine Research
Center Director: Dr. Barbara Timmermann
Center Website:

Research Projects:
• Chemistry and Mechanisms of Action
• Bioavailability
• Pharmacokinetics

Description: The Center is focusing on three botanicals (ginger, turmeric, and boswellia) widely used in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. The UA researchers are currently identifing the active constituents of these three herbs and studying their pharmacological activity. This research will lead to clinical studies of arthritis and other chronic inflammatory conditions, including respiratory diseases such as asthma. The UA group is recognized for their work in natural products chemistry research. It is anticipated that their future research efforts also will be important to the field of complementary
and alternative medicine.

UCLA Center for Dietary Supplement Research: Botanicals
Center Director: Dr. David Heber
Associate Director: Dr. Mary Hardy

Research Projects:
• Chinese Red Yeast Rice
• Green Tea Extract
• Chinese Herbs Active against Prostate Cancer

Description: The Center conducts basic and clinical research to explore the intrinsic differences between botanical dietary supplements and drugs while establishing a new paradigm for translational research on botanical dietary supplements which integrates basic and clinical sciences. The focus of research in the UCLA Center is herbal approaches to cancer prevention.

The Center has developed a new agriculture/Botany Plant Growth Center which includes greenhouse and plant cell culture facilities as well as enhanced capabilities in phytochemical and plant genetic analysis. The Research Projects listed above have resulted in new insights into the action of green tea on tumor angiogenesis and other botanicals including curcumin and ganoderma mushrooms with similar action. The Chinese Red Yeast Rice project is developing new species for use in the important public health problem of cardiovascular disease prevention while also studying its implications for cancer prevention.

The project on Chinese Herbs for Prostate Cancer is exploring actions and interactions of single and multiple herbs and their anti-cancer and estrogenic effects. Future studies and pilot studies are examining the interactions of multiple herbs for common chronic diseases including common forms of cancer.

University of Illinois, Chicago Center for Botanical Dietary Supplement Research in Women's Health
Center Director: Dr. Norman Farnsworth
Center Website:

Research Projects:
• Standardization
• Bioassay Development: In Vitro and In Vivo Evaluation
• In Vitro Studies: Metabolism, Absorption, Toxicity
• Clinical Evaluation

Description: The Center will focus initially on eleven herbal supplements that have potential benefits for women's health, including therapies for menopause. The researchers will identify the active constituents of these botanicals and standardize products accordingly. The clinical team will conduct Phase I and Phase II clinical trials of black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) and red clover (Trifolium pratense). In addition to conducting basic and clinical research, the UIC group will support research training in pharmacognosy (the study of natural products, primarily plants). The UIC group will also provide information on botanicals to consumers and health professionals; educational activities will include an interactive website.

MU (Missouri University) Center for Phytonutrient and Phytochemical Studies
Center Director: Dr. Dennis Lubahn
Center Website:

Research Projects:
• Phytonutrients and Prostate Tumor Progression
• Phytoestrogens and Innate Immunity in Estrogen Receptor Deficient Mice
• Plant Polyphenols Neuroprotective Effects Against Oxidative Insults
• Botanical Identification Characterization

Description: The MU Center for Phytonutrient and Phytochemical Studies is a comprehensive research program focused on studies of molecular mechanisms of phytochemicals and phytonutrients. The Center fosters research to assess the safety and efficacy of botanicals in their relation to human health. The focus of the current research is to explore possible mechanisms of action of phytoestrogens and polyphenols in prostate cancer, neurodegenerative disease and immune-mediated abnormalities.

Iowa State University and University of Iowa Center for Research on Botanical Dietary Supplements
Center Director: Dr. Diane Birt

Research Projects:
• Studies of Diversity in Echinacea and Hypericum
• Purification, Structure Determination, and Synthesis of Bioactive Components
• Mechanism of Action and Bioavailability
• Epidemiological Studies of Botanical Dietary Supplements

Description: The Iowa Center will focus on two widely used botanicals, Echinacea and St. John's wort. They propose to identify the active constituent(s) of each and determine the factors (genetic, growth, environmental, harvest) that influence quantity and quality of bioactive constituents. The Iowa Center scientists are particularly interested in identifying plant compounds that have activity in modulating immunity, preventing viral infection, or preventing inflammation and cellular proliferation.

The expanded seminar program begins one day earlier than at past SupplySide shows, with a full slate of scientific seminars scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 1. More information about SupplySide West 2003 is available at, or by calling Virgo Publishing at (480) 990-1101.

SupplySide is produced by Phoenix, Ariz.-based Virgo Publishing Inc., publisher of Natural Products Industry INSIDER and HSR: Health Supplement Retailer.

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