Research Institutes

Cancer Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine


Our responsibilities

The Institute was founded in 2002 with an aim of curing cancer. Our major responsibilities are as follows:

1. Develop new and integrative protocols of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to reinforce the ZhengQi (correct energy) of patients.

2. Identify and modify new active compounds from herbal medicine to eliminate the pathogenic factors of cancer.

3. Design new strategies for spirit adjustment to enhance the ZhengQi of patients.

4. Exploit new dietary strategies to strengthen the ZhengQi of patients.

Our achievements

By centering on above research aims, we have obtained outstanding achievements in recent years.

1. We found that targeting the overexpressed Prame in cancer cells is able to inactivate the RBX1-Cullin2-EloB-Prame E3 ligase (CRL2Prame) and to halt p14/ARF degradation to restrain tumor growth by inducing G2/M phase cell cycle arrest. In addition, we found that CRL3BTBD9 ubiquitin ligase mediates TNFAIP1 proteolysis to restrain cancer cell migration.  

2. We have verified the safety and effectiveness of non-pharmacological interventions derived from TCM. For instance, we have showed that five-day water-only fasting (also known as Bigu, a Chinese traditional fasting mode) can dramatically decrease cancer and metabolic syndrome-related risk factors and remarkably elevate anti-aging biomarkers without obvious adverse effect in individuals. We have also delineated the efficacy and underlying mechanisms of fasting on cancer therapy, and particularly highlighted fasting as a neoadjuvant for current chemotherapy.    

3. To reduce the cost and adverse effects of current clinical herbs and approved drugs, and to strengthen the body resistance to eliminate pathogenic factors, we have screened novel structures from herbs, modified those effective compounds, and confirmed the synergistic efficacy of herbs with approved drugs. We found that these therapy strategies not only adequately utilize the specific structural efficacy of herbs, but also extend their non-pharmacological contents to assist with meaningfully elevating the theory of “Fuzheng Quxie”.  

4. We have completed systemic study for a Chinese herbal medicine formula developed by our team, Tenglong Buzhong decoction. We have published more than 160 research papers in scientific journals, obtained 3 invention patents, produced 1 herbal product with translational potential, and acquired more than 20 awards for scientific research and technological innovation.    

5. We have thoroughly investigated the metabolic reprogramming and identified key metabolic pathways in lung cancer. Of importance, we have discovered some herbal compounds as attractive drug candidates by targeting these key metabolic pathways.

6. We have developed new cinobufagin-loaded and folic acid-modified polydopamine nanomedicine combined with photothermal therapy, and verified its efficacy for lung cancer treatment.In addition, we have designed new siRNA-loaded genetic nanomedicine in order to knock down those well-known oncogenes and treat liver cancer.   

Our ongoing activities

1. Neddylation-CRLs pathway is frequently overactivated in various cancers and positive linked to advanced cancer stages and poor clinical prognosis. We are centering on investigating the underlying molecular mechanisms for neddylation activation, identifying oncogenic or tumor-suppressive substrates of CRLs, and further developing monomer inhibitors from Chinese herbal medicine for neddylation-CRLs modulation.

2. We are exploring the effects and underlying mechanisms of nonpharmacological intervention on anti-cancer therapy, including dietary and meditation-based interventions.

3. We are screening herb-originated products or compounds for anti-cancer therapeutics by targeting the ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like pathway. Besides, we are structurally modifying the hit compounds originated from Chinese herbs and approved drugs to obtain new anti-cancer drug candidates.

4 We are deciphering the underlying and complex mechanisms of clinical practice-based modern Chinese herbal formula for cancer therapy.  

5. We are depicting the metabolic signatures of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) using multi-omics approach, and screening new herbal compounds to refrain the aberrantly activated metabolic pathways for ESCC treatment.   

6. We are deeply studying the anti-cancer TCM nanomedicine with photothermal photodynamic properties. We are also designing and developing new genetic nanomedicines based on siRNA and CRISPR-Cas9 technologies, and investigating their application in cancer therapy.  

Our faculty

There are 13 faculty members in the institute, including 1 director, 1 vice-director, 10 researchers, and 1 secretary. Among these faculty members, 4 are professors, 2 are associate/assistant professors, 6 are research associates, and 1 is research assistant. In addition, among these faculty members, 11 have acquired Ph.D./M.D. degree, and 1 has acquired master degree.

Contact Us

Telephone: 86-21-64385700 ext. 9601

Fax: 021-64398310


Address: No. 725 South Wanping Rd, Building 12 RM 607, Shanghai 200032, China