Etiologies that can lead to deafblindness could be prevented and treated thanks to Chinese alternative medicine: A comparison to orphan drugs (Study by Han Yang) 

Orphan drugs are those used to prevent, treat and diagnose rare diseases. Some of these diseases cause such things as auditory and visual problems that can lead to deafblindness. Developing specific medication for these rare diseases is often laborious, either because a proper treatment has not been found or because these drugs components are expensive and difficult to obtain.

Based on the relative availability of Chinese herbal medicines, a study of the active ingredients of Chinese medicine and Western orphan drugs has been made by the Chinese student Han Yang. This includes a comparative study between these two in order to see if Chinese herbal medicines can replace the role of Western orphan drugs in some way and, consequently, reduce the effects that these diseases may cause to the population.

If the research is effective, it can help research institutions related to rare diseases and orphan drugs to start with the active ingredients of Chinese herbal medicines, which is expected to increase the variety of orphan drugs and benefit certain patients. This is also an important step to promote the benefit of traditional Chinese medicine to the world.

The methodology of this study consisted of searching for Western medicine orphan drugs and its corresponding treatment diseases on the orphan drug website. Subsequently, use the disease name as the main search term and find an equivalent Chinese treatment for the disease on CNKI (China National Knowledge Infrastructure).

This table is obtained by summarizing the treatment options that are indeed effective in these more authoritative papers, and the main pharmacological effects of Traditional Chinese medicine are analysed, too. However, there is a lack of research on orphan drugs in China, and there is no definite diagnosis and treatment norms to follow.

The composition of Chinese herbal medicine is complex, and the effect is often the result of the common effect of multiple ingredients. There is very little research on this in China, the safety and reliability of multi-component Chinese herbal medicines cannot be proved by laboratory testing, even if it is determined that a combination of Chinese herbal medicines has a special effect on a rare disease, the strict quality inspection process may also lead to its inability to market as a drug circulation. This led to difficulties in implementing the study.

See the comparison table here