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Natural Products Center Hosts Annual Botanicals Conference

The event hosted by the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s National Center for Natural Products Research is scheduled April 11-14 at the Oxford Conference Center.
The event hosted by the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s National Center for Natural Products Research is scheduled April 11-14 at the Oxford Conference Center.

The 16th annual Oxford International Conference on the Science of Botanicals, the premier annual event for examining medicinal plants and dietary supplements, will bring together research, regulatory and industry representatives to focus on quality and safety of dietary supplements.

Hosted by the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s National Center for Natural Products Research, the event is scheduled April 11-14 at the Oxford Conference Center. More than 300 participants from around the globe are expected to attend.

This year’s event is also in conjunction with the Interim Meeting of the American Society of Pharmacognosy, the leading scientific society for the study of drugs derived from natural products.

“For the botanical supplement world, there is no other meeting quite like this,” said Larry Walker, NCNPR director. “Regulatory agencies, trade associations, quality assurance, and analytical and safety people, as well as physicians, toxicologists and media representatives will be offering their perspectives on botanicals 22 years after the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994.”

That theme is the topic of the conference’s opening session and the keynote address to be delivered by Steven Musser, deputy director for scientific operations of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. As deputy director, Musser is responsible for promoting and protecting the public’s health by ensuring that the nation’s food supply is safe, sanitary, wholesome and honestly labeled. He also ensures that cosmetic products are safe and properly labeled.

Musser joined CFSAN in 1991 as a research chemist and became the branch chief of the Instrumentation and Biophysics Branch in 1998. In 2005, he was appointed director of the Office of Scientific Analysis and Support, and following centerwide reorganization in 2007, he became director of the newly formed Office of Regulatory Science.

As the ORS director, Musser oversaw an extensive research portfolio supporting a number of priority food and cosmetic programs, including research on foodborne pathogens, chemical contaminants, natural toxins and dietary supplements.

The opening session of the conference also features an officer from American Society of Pharmacognosy and a welcome by UM Chancellor Jeffery S. Vitter.

The conference’s first session focuses on an update and future perspectives from the regulators. Sau “Larry” Lee, acting associate director of FDA; Cara Welch, acting deputy director of FDA; Rahaul Pawar, research chemist in CFSAN-FDA; and Yitong Liu, senior staff fellow and research pharmacologist in CFSAN-FDA, will provide those perspectives.

In other sessions:

  • CDC Medication Safety Program, RIVM and USADA executives will discuss the safety of dietary supplements;
  • Hunan University of Chinese Medicine, Jamia Hamdard, Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Ohio University and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health clinicians will discuss natural products discovery and development;
  • CDER-FDA, GW Pharmaceuticals and UAB Epilepsy Center officials will discuss prospects for naturally derived cannabinoids as FDA-regulated therapeutics;
  • SafetyCall International, Einstein Healthcare Network, Thorne Research and Consortium for Health and Military Performance managers will discuss clinical toxicology investigations impacting supplement safety surveillance;
  • FDA, Aveda International, UM and British Essential Oils Association scientists will discuss natural products and cosmetics;
  • NIST, BI Nutraceuticals, Missouri Botanical Garden, USDA, University of Johannesburg, University of Illinois at Chicago and Integra Healthcare officials will discuss botanical reference material and authentication;
  • University of Arkansas, Procter & Gamble and UM scientists will talk about safety assessment of botanicals, psrticularly herb-drug interactions;
  • University of Illinois, Blackmore Research Institute and University of Karachi researchers will discuss international perspectives on botanical research;
  • Institute for Food and Drug Control, American Botanical Council and UNPA representatives will talk about botanical development and regulation;
  • Lehman College, University of Talca and University of Regensburg scientists will discuss natural product discovery and regulation;
  • Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Second Military Medical University and Tasly Academy scientists will share international efforts on the development of traditional Chinese medicines;
  • National University of Malaysia, China Medical University and Ewha Woman’s University researchers will discuss international efforts on the development of herbal medicines;
  • FDA, CFSAN and UM scientists will discuss DNA authentications;
  • Agilent Technologies and Waters Corporation scientists will discuss quality assessment of natural products;
  • Maryland University of Integrative Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Emory University, Tasly Academy and Zayed Herbal Complex will discuss safety and efficacy.

In the conference’s closing session, representatives from the American Herbal Products Association, Council for Responsible Nutrition and Natural Products Association will provide industry reaction to information and opinions shared during previous sessions.

The conference is supported by a cooperative agreement between the NCNPR and the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

“Our mission is to put science behind dietary supplements, natural products and traditional forms of medicine,” said Ikhlas Khan, assistant director of the natural products center, director of NCNPR’s FDA Center for Excellence in Botanicals and the conference coordinator.

“This year, we’re fulfilling that mission by enabling government, industry, trade, clinical and media representatives to share their perspectives, experiences and concerns about pressing issues affecting botanical dietary supplements with each other, as well as the conference’s more-than-300 attendees.”

The Waters Corp., United Natural Products Alliance and Agilent Technologies are the event’s major sponsors.

For a complete conference schedule, visit http://oxfordicsb.org.

Courtesy of Edwin Smith and the Ole Miss News Desk

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
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