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July 13, 2004  
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New England School of Acupuncture Receives $2.5 Million Grant for Research Center

By Editorial Staff

In October 2003, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) announced the first series of grants from three new research center programs as part of its ongoing effort to determine the safety and effectiveness of CAM. Of the more than $18.6 million in grants awarded by the NCCAM, over half of the funds - $9.5 million - were earmarked for research into the mechanisms of acupuncture and other components of Asian healing.

Now, one of the acupuncture schools involved in the NCCAM program has received a grant of $2.5 million to begin work on a new research center.

The New England School of Acupuncture, in Watertown, Massachusetts, will use that money to establish a Developmental Center for Research in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (DCRC) dedicated to acupuncture research, and will work with several leading hospitals and health care centers in the area, including Harvard Medical School (HMS).

"NESA is proud to be the first Oriental medicine school in the United States to receive a NIH Developmental Center grant," said the school's president, Evelyn Fowler, MAc, LAc. "This grant will support our mission of working collaboratively with the conventional medical community to conduct timely and meaningful research in Oriental medicine, and to develop novel methodologies so that the research remains faithful to OM traditions."

"We are thrilled by the establishment of our collaborative research center," added Dr. Peter Wayne, NESA's director of research and the DCRC's principal investigator. "NESA faculty members have enjoyed a number of creative and productive collaborations with investigators at HMS-affiliated hospitals, jointly researching the potential benefits of acupuncture, tai chi and other branches of East Asian medicine. The center grant strengthens this relationship."

In addition to Harvard Medical School, institutions that will collaborate on research efforts include Children's Hospital of Boston and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The goal of the DCRC is to strengthen NESA's existing infrastructure, while laying the groundwork for a sustainable research program based at the school.

Another goal of the collaboration is to further research on acupuncture and other CAM therapies and their effectiveness on women's health. Toward that end, the DCRC will support three development studies. One will include women with ovarian cancer, and will evaluate whether Chinese-style acupuncture can increase or maintain white blood cell levels, which are essential for fighting off infections that might occur during certain stages of chemotherapy. The second study will involve teenage girls, and will investigate whether Japanese acupuncture can reduce chronic pelvic pain associated with endometriosis. The third study will focus on ways to improve the reliability of traditional Chinese medicine diagnoses and integrate them into scientific clinical trials.

In addition to the research aspect of the grant, the DCRC also includes a number of academic and administrative mentoring programs, which will allow HMS faculty and staff to assist NESA with research-related activities and grant proposals. NESA faculty and staff will also have the opportunity to increase their own knowledge and skills related to research through educational courses, hand-on training, research and study programs.


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