More in depth, the main aim of the medical area is to define the use of TCM and acupuncture in specific therapeutic profiles within the European area. In other words, researchers will have to evaluate if TCM and acupuncture can become public medical practices whose costs can be afforded by the EU Governments. Different therapeutic paths will have to be defined for different pathologies, with the following characteristics: capillary distribution on the territory; costs control; outcomes control.
Researchers will produce results particularly helpful for the on going political debate in some European countries about the introduction of medical practices related to TCM as part of the national healthcare systems, as well as in the university educational programs for doctors. Moreover, the collaboration with Chinese clinical doctors should allow mapping the opportunities for a specific Europe-China integration in the medical field, also including aspects of drug and healthcare technologies for diagnosis.
Others studies will compare TCM and WM through the evidences related to some selected medical areas. In particular, researchers will develop empirical evaluation of medical treatments in some specific medical fields, using TCM vs WM, as well as the integrated approach. By means of observational studies, starting from diseases related to chronic pelvic pain and infertility, researchers will compare such specific approaches, to describe the results in different treatment programs.
The knowledge exchange and collaboration to develop innovative diagnostic and surgical techniques in benign gynecologic pathology would give a precious experience for both sides. Moreover, the epidemiological studies of the environmental and ecological factors, like the major exposure to chemical substances, or social aspects with an important part of women’s work involved in different industries, could clarify leaking parts in pathogenesis of some gynecological diseases and define subsequently the risk factors for infertility and women’s health.
The same line will be used for regenerative medicine approaches. As known regenerative medicine is the process of replacing or regenerating human cells, tissues or organs to restore or establish normal function. It refers to a group of biomedical approaches to clinical therapies that may also involve the use of stem cells. This field holds the promise of regenerating damaged tissues and organs in the body by replacing damaged tissue and/or by stimulating the body repair mechanisms to heal previously irreparable tissues or organs. Through research of adult stem cells in vitro, endocrinology, gynecological and histological issues for the applied techniques in the fields of morphology pathologies will be involved.
In addition, the research project will try to push the integration of TCM practices in Europe, evaluating challenges and obstacles. In particular, the main aim is to analyze the scientific and cultural elements that could be considered as obstacles for the diffusion and integration of TCM in the European Healthcare Systems. Methodologies in the field of research activities should be defined, by meta-analysis of the literature, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of TCM and Acupuncture according to the criteria of Evidence Based Medicine (EBM), taking into account the epistemological aspects of this medicine.
Furthermore, the introduction and integration in the National Healthcare Systems of TCM and Acupuncture for the treatment of the main social pathologies such as back pain and headache in terms of cost-effectiveness should be evaluated.
In the light of integration opportunities between Europe and China in healthcare, specific problems regard: a) the identification of those kinds of treatments and medical practices whose costs should be afforded by European and Chinese governments, and b) the related question whether these treatments and practices can be part of a homogeneous integrated system, able to combine TCM and WM. Even if these problems specifically refer to the role of biomedical ethics in the framework of public policies (namely, healthcare policies), they are also intrinsically linked to a further bioethical issue that regards individual choice, that is, the issue of a patients’ and/or a medical doctors’ therapeutic choice. The latter indeed can be performed freely and responsively only if, in a therapeutic alliance, both a patient and a medical doctor can choose the most adequate therapeutic treatments, with no a priori discrimination between TCM and WM, and this can happen only if both practices are well integrated as a part of the national healthcare systems.