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2014
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CRILA - A Vietnamese Innovative Product


CRILA capsule is formulated from bioactive alkaloids extracted from Royal Virgin plant (Crinum latifolium L. var . crilae Tram & Khanh) - a new variety found by Pharmacist - Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tram. 10-year-old CRILA is the first product in the world to treat fibroids formulated from Vietnamese herbs and is one of three products for benign prostatic hyperplasia with high efficacy, safe for patients on international pharmaceutical market. Few people know that in order to invent CRILA, Pharmacist - Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tram has devoted 15 years of her life to researching and collecting wild plants and domesticating them to create new varieties to have raw materials for CRILA production.

Origin of creative ideas
 
From ancient times, royal physicians have used rich domestic resource of medicinal plants to treat some diseases including incurable diseases such as cancer and other benign tumor diseases. This has put a question to Dr. Tram ‘So when there hasn’t been chemical synthesis technology to make materials for drug production yet, how did people find therapy to cure themselves?’ To answer this question, Dr. Tram had to learn about some documents that people have used hot water to extract compounds in this medicinal plant for medical purpose. Thus, medicinal plants take a role like chemically synthesizing factories to make compounds with treatment efficacy that is not interior to chemically synthesizing methods, but with fewer side effects. 

Hence, it is worth figuring out that secret of nature to create new pharmaceutical products by innovating cultivation technology, extraction technology, and formulation technology. This idea is from the beloved father of Dr. Tram, who had a great influence on accelerating the development of innovative ideas. Therefore, Dr. Tram has collected hundreds of medicinal plants with the ability of treating cancer, then selected Crinum latifolium L. var. crilae Tram & Khanh plant with bioactive substances that are capable of treating tumors, stimulating immune system, and regulating blood. In fact, clinical trials showed that CRILA can treat BPH at 89.18% and uterine fibroids at 79.5%.

The path of implementing the idea

Dr. Ngoc Tram started to study CRILA in 1990 but it was not until 2004, CRILA was completed and launched to market. Dr. Tram said, ‘The biggest difficulty in the research process is searching for the correct Crinum latifolium L. var. crilae Tram & Khanh against tumors. At time of research, this was a new wild medicinal plant, so had to be distinguished by genetic (DNA) in selection.’ According to Dr. Tram, there are 7 varieties in folklore with morphological similarities. However, only one of them is the correct Crinum latifolium L. var. crilae Tram & Khanh treating tumors while some other plants don’t have similar effects and affect liver and kidney functions.

‘The process of self-searching, developing agriculture and collection standards under GACP-WHO criterion, studying chemical composition, extraction, biological effects, clinical assessment is full of difficulties in finance and facilities’ Dr. Tram shared.

After CRILA medicine had been tested abroad on animals and humans to treat both uterine fibroids and BPH for better results in 2000, Dr. Tram spent 5 years convincing professionals to allow CRILA for clinical trials to treat patients in VN. The results indicated after taking CRILA, a patient has fibroma size reduced from 63mm to 25mm, or one who has 5 fibromata reduced to 1-2 fibroma or none. At that point of time, 2005 CRILA was allowed to circulate.

Achievements

Affirming that CRILA has ability to treat uterine fibroids and BPH, on July 21, 2005, Vietnamese Drug Administration officially allowed CRILA for circulation in Vietnam. The board of science at national level evaluated and recognized CRILA as one of the greatest achievements in Vietnamese medicine. Unprecedentedly, CRILA is the first herbal medicine treating uterine fibroid. CRILA has not only positive treatment efficacy but also lower price than Western drugs of the same type. CRILA has competitive quality with no side effects such as hypotension, hot flashes, taking the initiative in material source.

After selecting the correct Crinum latifolium L. varieties with biological activity preventing the growth of tumor cells and stimulating immune system, Dr. Tram named it Vietnamese Crinum latifolium L. var. crilae Tram & Khanh belonging to Crinum genus. Then, she chose a plantation in Long Thanh - Dong Nai to develop medicinal material sources. The Drug Administration has recognized this plantation of Thien Duoc Co., Ltd under “Good Agriculture and Collection Practices for medicinal plants” as recommended by the World Health Organization (GACP - WHO). This is the first medicinal plantation in Vietnam reached GACP-WHO, which can create jobs for nearly 120 workers.

Drug Administration has allowed Thien Duoc Co., Ltd to produce CRILA at the company's factory that is under GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices), GLP (Good Laboratory Practices), GSP (Good Storage Practices) criteria in Nam Tan Uyen Industrial Zone, Binh Duong province. In 2010, CRILA was announced one of three medicinal products included in national medicinal product list according to the suggestion and selection of the Ministry of Health and in the list of drugs for health insurance.

CRILA is not only recognized in quality in Vietnam but also highly appreciated in foreign countries. CRILA has been tested in terms of pesticide residues, genetically modified organisms, heavy metals exposure, and the allergen in Eurofins laboratory – the USA. The results showed that CRILA meets the criteria prescribed by the United States, which proved CRILA is a safe and quality product.

The components from Crinum latifolium L. extract and CRILA medicine are estrogen-free, which is announced by scientists at the University of Illinois (USA). This information showed that CRILA from Crinum latifolium L. produced by Thien Duoc Co., Ltd has no risk factors affecting the development of tumors (estrogen). CRILA is not only widely used in Vietnam to treat uterine fibroids and BPH but also in U.S. market - a very demanding market with any product, especially pharmaceutical products.

Ms. Sue McKinney, Director of Crinum Health, a businessperson of Medocino is a distributor of herbal medicines in the United States. Currently, CRILA is present in many parts of state and is seen as a new treatment method from medicinal herbs. Ms. Sue McKinney also created a separate website about CRILA at www.crilahealth.com.

CRILA and Dr. Tram’s success attract the attention not only of domestic media, but also recently of the San Jose Mercury News - a prestigious American newspaper about medical field with the title, “The relation of folk medicine - Secrets of medicinal herbs”, praising successful research on active substances from Vietnamese Crinum latifolium L.

Recognizing her dedication to scientific research, International Kovalevskaya Award presented her as the only individual prizewinner in 2007. In 2010, her research work group on Crinum latifolium L. is one of three projects honored with National Award for Science and Technology by the Ministry of Science and Technology. Thien Duoc Co., Ltd with ‘CRILA’ brandname has recently been honored to receive the title of the Vietnam Gold Star Award 2013.

Dr. Tram said, ‘More than all the awards, my greatest joy is selecting Vietnamese plants to formulate medicine, helping patients partly save treatment cost as my father’s expectation (Labor Hero, Dr. in science Nguyen Van Truong - Reporter), which is the most meaningful thing. The success of today is not my own, it is the sacrifice of my whole family.’
Reported by DONG HUONG

  Pharmacist - Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tram was born in 1947. At the age of 24, she was known in domestic scientific circles for her research of extracting the essential oil from Coleus aromaticus Benth. Labiatae to make cough syrup for children. In 1984, Pharmacist - Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tram passed the nationwide competitive examination for research students, then was sent to Bulgaria as post-graduate in 1985. After long time of researching on the effects of Crinum latifolium L., in 2005, her work was successful with the advent of CRILA capsule.  
   “The fact that CRILA is accepted by demanding markets like the U.S. market is not only my honor but also the pride of Vietnamese herbs.”  


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