4th Year Medical Students at the College of Korean Medicine Published Research Article in SCI (E)-level Journal

2020-11-02 Others

Professor Bonglee Kim of the Department of Science in Korean Medicine, Graduate School, and five 4th year medical students published a research on the pharmacological efficacy of plant extracts that suppress the sequela of cancer treatments

Professor Kim and his research team investigated extracts of ginger, ginseng, the tuberous roots of turmeric, red sage, cordyceps militaris, anemarrhena asphodeloides, and phellodendri cortex; and hanyak (Korean medicine) prescriptions based on the extract mixes, including Daegunjoong-tang, Sipjeondaebo-tang, and Yukgunja-tang. The goal was to see if these extracts could suppress side effects of cancer treatments and control cachexia accompanied by symptoms of fatigue, loss of appetite, and weight loss. This research received attention in that the five authors, from the first author to coauthors, are 4th year medical students at the Department of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee Graduate School. Their findings were published on September 7 by MDPI’s first Impact Factor journal, Antioxidants (top 7.19% in Food Science & Technology by JCR), under the title of “Plant Extracts as Possible Agents for Sequela of Cancer Therapies and Cachexia.”

Students Jinjoo Lee and Hyejin Park (‘14), Myungin Jeong, Hyorim Kim, and Wonkyoung Moon (‘15) achieved an academically meaningful research result while working on clinical training. Among them, Jinjoo Lee and Myungin Jeong took an active part as co-first authors. Based on their study, plant extracts are expected to play an important role in handling cancer sequela and cachexia, for which there are few existing solutions. Some of the investigated substances seem to be promising candidates for new drugs and health food product development. Below are the details shared by the student authors and Professor Bonglee Kim.

Cancer sequela and cachexia can be treated with plant extracts.
Q. You became the first author even as a medical student. What is your research on?
A. Jinjoo Lee: It deals with the side effects and cachexia after receiving cancer treatments. Oriental medicine hospitals use hanyak and natural products for cancer patients. We analyzed such substances to see if they are also effective in treating cancer sequela. We covered all the results of clinical trials as well as animal tests and cell experiments. During that analysis, one extract was persistently shown to be effective: ginger. Several articles already mentioned that ginger is effective, and the efficacy does not change even when different methods are used for extraction. Thus, we suggested the possibility of conducting clinical trials based on the pharmacological properties of ginger.

Q. What makes your research meaningful?
A. Professor Kim: We are in a great want for cancer sequela treatment. Most importantly, our research suggests that we can find one in Korean medicine. The research also has a clinical value that demonstrates plant extracts can alleviate the symptoms of cancer sequela and cachexia. We combined and reviewed major cancer treatments of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, which is something that has never been done before. Serving as a database it will give real help to cancer patients.

“Abundant opportunities for clinical training offered by Kyung Hee guarantee firsthand experience for students.”
Q. How did your education and training help you in the research?
A. Myungin Jeong: Both pathology and oncology classes were very helpful. Oncology was particularly impressive in that I was provided with materials covering from cancer types to the history and prognoses of relevant patients. Besides, Kyung Hee medical students have more opportunities to practice, as the University has two teaching hospitals: Kyung Hee Medical Center and Kyung Hee University Hospital at Gangdong. They have patients in diverse disease groups and offer a longer training period, ensuring that students have a sustained engagement with conferences and clinical classes. I think this is the biggest advantage we can enjoy.

Wonkyoung Moon: During the clinical training, I happened upon a hanyak prescription for a patient hospitalized with cancer sequela and spotted an identical substance in the prescription that I was researching on. I was grateful that the training enabled me to compare an actual patient record with this research and then proceed to clinical application.

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