Industry News: Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica Honored by Waters Centers of Innovation Program

Research center for traditional chinese medicine modernization recognized for advancing quality control authentication and profiling methods

28 Oct 2015


Waters Corporation has welcomed the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica’s (SIMM) Research Center for Modernization of Traditional Chinese Medicine  under the direction of Dr. De-an Guo into the Waters Centers of Innovation (COI) Program. The Research Center plays a leading role in the effort to develop standardized methods for analyzing the authenticity and compositional integrity of traditional medicines and bring them into compliance with quality standards instituted by the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA).

Said Yang Ye, Deputy Director of Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, “We are pleased to have our TCM Research Center honored by Waters for the Centers of Innovation Program, the first in China. This is a wonderful opportunity for the Center and Waters to work closely together to tackle the holistic analysis of the complex Chinese herbal system.”

On hand to congratulate Dr. Guo and his team was Dr. Mike Harrington, V.P. Asia/Pacific Operations, Waters Division. “We could not be more excited to be working with Dr. Guo and his fellow researchers at the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica,” said Harrington. “The work of the Institute and the Research Center is vital to the efforts to globalize Traditional Chinese Medicine and enlist it in the fight against disease and in the quest to improve human health.”

Said Eric Fotheringham, Director – Waters Centers of Innovation Program, "We are particularly pleased to welcome Dr. Guo and his team into the Waters Centers of Innovation Program, as they are the first COI Program partner focused upon the challenges of characterizing TCM related raw materials and manufactured products."

In his remarks delivered at Wednesday’s ceremony, Brian Smith, V.P. – Mass Spectrometry Operations, Waters Division, said, “Through our partnership with Dr. Guo, and by combining analytical technology with great science, we are helping one another advance TCM and bring it onto a global stage.”

Now that the CFDA regulates Traditional Chinese Medicines and related herbal supplements, Dr. Guo’s Research Center for Modernization of Tradition Chinese Medicine is tasked with developing standardized quality control test methods for herbal medicines and bringing them into routine use. Currently, many TCM quality standards are mostly based on the presence of a single marker in a sample, but as Dr. Guo points out, this approach is not without its drawbacks, since an unscrupulous manufacturer could simply add that single marker into the formulation to falsify the results and make it look like it is something it really isn’t. "We’re now using UPLC to profile the whole chemical composition, and to quantify the multiple active markers, not just a single marker," said Dr. Guo. "By taking a more holistic approach to quality control, including fingerprint profiling, multi-component quantification, testing for pesticides, heavy metals, and microbial contaminations we can identify whether it is the true herb and attest to its quality."

To fulfill its mission, the Center uses a variety of state-of-the art instruments in addition to the Waters® ACQUITY® UPLC® System. They include the Waters ACQUITY QDa® Mass Detector, the ACQUITY UPC2® Convergence Chromatography™ system, and a Xevo® G2-XS QTof mass spectrometer.  The Center also relies on modern informatics platforms, such as the Waters UNIFI® Scientific Information System to maintain high working efficiency.

Waters officially saluted the work of Dr. Guo and the Research Center for TCM Modernization with a ceremony and three-day conference organized in part and sponsored by the Waters Centers of Innovation Program. The 2015 Shanghai International Conference on Traditional Chinese Medicine and Natural Medicine is featuring presentations and a panel discussion by more than three dozen experts in TCM.

Asked what the recognition means to him, Dr. Guo said, “It’s really an honor and a privilege for Waters to take so much interest in the work we do. I’m looking at this as an opportunity to deepen our collaboration and working together on quality monographs for Chinese herbal medicines for the Chinese pharmacopoeia and others, such as United States Pharmacopoeia and European Pharmacopoeia.”

Dr. Guo, as Editor-in-Chief, recently co-authored an article in the World Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine in which the authors document the progress of China’s TCM modernization efforts and the challenges it still faces.