Gaia Herbs Professional Solutions, as part of its continuing leadership in herbal research and innovation, engages in partnerships with academic institutions for the purpose of advancing basic science and technology applications.
Clemson Heavy Metals Research Fellowship
In response to elevated public and regulatory concern about the potentially harmful levels of heavy metals in dietary supplements, we funded a post-doctoral research fellowship at Clemson’s Department of Chemistry, under Dr. R. Kenneth Marcus, in a new analytical technique that tests the concentrations of heavy metals in herbal dietary supplements. This method functionally speciates the organic molecular structures to which both nutritional and toxic metals are bound. Today, the most sophisticated commercial metals testing tool (ICP-MS) obliterates the organic information and reports only the total elemental concentration of each metal. This collaboration with Clemson could yield a new analytical platform in our industry capable of answering much more subtle questions about the health impacts of heavy metals in our foods and dietary supplements.
Sloan-Kettering Breast Cancer Research with Maitake
Since 2002, we have collaborated with Tradeworks Group, Inc., to supply a liquid Maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa) glycerite extract preparation to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for a U.S. Department of Defense funded clinical trial on Breast Cancer. MSKCC chose an extract developed by Dr. Hiroaki Nanba of Kobe Pharmaceutical University in Japan, marketed in North America exclusively by the Tradeworks Group under the name MaitakeGold 404®. This product has received an Investigational New Drug (IND) number from FDA in connection with this trial. MSKCC found the MaitakeGold 404® glycerite extract preparation to be most suitable, in part, because of Gaia Herbs’ ability to comply with all applicable GMP standards for manufacturing, testing, and finished packaging.
University of Arizona Polysaccharides Pharmacokinetics Study
As part of our ongoing NIH-funded Phase II SBIR Echinacea research grant, we are collaborating with Dr. David Nix at the University of Arizona to test the pharmacokinetics—essentially, the metabolic uptake mechanisms—of polysaccharides from the fresh-pressed juice of Echinacea purpurea flowers. Specifically, the arabinogalactan polysaccharides (AGP’s) showed strong immuno-stimulatory activity in earlier cell line studies, and seem to exhibit promising anti-tumor properties. Our growing scientific expertise in the myriad chemical properties of whole plant Echinacea extracts promises to yield new delivery systems and newly defined functional uses for Echinacea.