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Increasingly, patients and health care providers in Western countries have begun using components of Chinese medicine (CM) —such as botanicals and herbal medicines, acupuncture and acupressure, and qigong—to aid in managing various medical conditions. Simultaneously, research on the effectiveness and mechanism of action of these approaches has also expanded. In the field of oncology, many of these treatment approaches have been explored, both as potential anticancer agents and symptom management methods. Between 2005 and 2012, the research portfolio of the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) included more than 200 grants or other projects examining aspects of CM(Table 1). The research focus of these projects ranges across the broad spectrums of cancer prevention, treatment, and symptom management research. Some of these grants have studied interventions that have advanced to clinical trials in the United States, such as the oral protein-bound polysaccharide mixture derived from the mushroom Trametes versicolor, polysaccharide K (PSK), which is being tested as an adjuvant to an anticancer vaccine in women with metastatic breast cancer.

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