Professor Charlie Xue leads the School of Health and Biomedical Sciences at RMIT, is a World Health Organization consultant and chairs the National Chinese Medicine Board of Australia.
Professor Charlie C Xue, Executive Dean, School of Health and Biomedical Sciences
Professor Charlie Xue’s primary areas of research specialty are evidence-based integrated healthcare for chronic diseases.
Chinese medical texts evolving over 2000 years continue to play critical roles in clinical practice which may lead to further evaluation through clinical trials to determine their therapeutic benefits.
While studying to be a doctor in Guangdong, China, Professor Xue asked himself one simple question and his entire career has been an attempt to answer it, "How can I make healthcare more effective and affordable?"
His current focus is on evidence-based integrative healthcare research to assess and correlate the efficiency of key Chinese medicine treatments that have been in practice for over 2000 years, by establishing clinical trials to see whether these practices meet the expected rigorous requirements in the development of any new therapeutics in a modern medical environment. One of the herbal medicines under Professor Xue’s research is Panax Ginseng.
"Ginseng, based on the historic literature, is a potent tonic for stamina. We are currently conducting clinical trials on the effects of ginseng on lungs after they have been exposed to long-term smoking."
Previously we have completed several clinical trials on the effectiveness of acupuncture to treat hay fever.
"A rigorous research of the classical literature and practice led to a systematic evaluation of the best available current clinical evidence and then translating the evidence into practice."
Many of Professor Xue’s publications have become important references for further research and have been the major contributor to acupuncture being drawn globally into a clinical guideline and being included as a therapeutic option.
"My research has three interconnected components; the first is systematically evaluating the current state of evidence, including both classical and modern literature, to identify promising treatments, which is then followed by the second component; developing and conducting clinical trials to rigorously evaluate how effective therapy is. The third component is translating evidence into practice. We have developed a detailed method and procedure in searching, testing, evaluating and then translating evidence into practice".
Professor Xue is now partnering with the Guangdong Provincial Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences in a project using the methodology which he established to look into 29 clinical conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, hay fever, psoriasis and insomnia.
Until now the benefit of Chinese medicine has not been systematically assessed, particularly with including the classical texts into the whole body of literature. Professor Xue along with his colleagues at RMIT and the Guangdong Provincial Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, just published two new clinical textbooks and these are the first evidence-based clinical Chinese medicine textbooks in history. The books will be translated into Chinese for global purposes.
Professor Xue had no intention of this research being a myth busting exercise but centuries of predisposed knowledge has come under question and the community of Chinese medicine practitioners has reacted strongly to many of Professor Xue’s publications.
"I believe there must be benefits for some treatments in certain areas but they may also be things that are coincidental. So I take a very neutral approach to the research. When I publish negative results the Chinese medicine community gets really emotional but I think this provides balance to your life as a researcher, as when you publish positive findings they get really happy."
"My main aim has always been to give people a more informed and rational choice of interventions for their health needs."
Professor Xue is proud to be based at RMIT.
"I think the main thing for me was that in 1993 RMIT was the first public university in the English speaking world to introduce Chinese medicine and offer degree programs. That is why I was drawn to this place and why I have been happy to stay. I believe that RMIT Health and Biomedical Sciences will be a future leader in integrated health care for chronic diseases."