By Fiona Lee
NUI Galway has signed an agreement to establish a Confucius Institute and to formalise collaborative ties with Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine (NJUCM). The signing ceremony was attended by the Chinese Vice-Minister for Education, the Ambassador of China in Ireland and the Mayor of Galway.
The new Confucius Institute of Chinese and Regenerative Medicine at NUI Galway (威大 学中医与再生医学孔子学院) will integrate east and west, ancient and modern, Chinese and regenerative medicine in medical education and research.
The research programme will aim to identify regenerative properties of Chinese medicines including the effects on stem cell biology.
The agreement follows recently established cooperation between NUI Galway’s regenerative medicine institute, REMEDI, and NJUCM and it paves the way for joint collaborations to integrate Chinese and Regenerative Medicine in the search for new treatments for conditions of unmet clinical need, such as diabetes mellitus and neurodegenerative diseases.
In welcoming the announcement, Professor Tim O’Brien, Dean of Medicine at NUI Galway, said: “Global education, scientific research and clinical trials of Chinese Medicine are all needed to enable a worldwide translation of Chinese Medicine products.”
“NUI Galway and NJUCM through the foundation of this Confucius institute will enable collaborative research to be undertaken. This research will occur in parallel with education and application of Chinese Medicine to practice in Ireland.”
Professor O’Brien added: “Chinese Medicine has therapeutic effects for many conditions with unmet medical need by Western medicine. The NUI Galway Centre will teach Chinese Medicine but will also have a research goal to identify active products in Chinese Medicine.”
President Ó hÓgartaigh, speaking at the signing of the agreement said: “Chinese Medicine is a treasure of Chinese culture and the Galway Confucius Institute uniquely combines the medical and scientific traditions of East and West. We share the hope that together our scholars and clinicians working in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and in Regenerative Medicine and stem cell therapy will develop innovative treatments to improve healthcare for humankind.”
Jossal Cota, first year medical student in NUI Galway, said “It’s an exciting prospect for the university medical community to be involved in cutting-edge research and to be on the forefront of regenerative medicine.”
NUI Galway established the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) in 2004, with funding from Science Foundation Ireland.
With significant Irish and European investment in basic and translational research, REMEDI is currently involved in seven EU clinical trials investigating the clinical application of stem cells in conditions of unmet medical need,using mesenchymal stromal cells manufactured from an EU-standard GMP manufacturing facility at NUI Galway and partner institutions in the EU.