• By: Keith Whittier

Naturopathic and Conventional Medicine Team Up to Fight Cancer

The Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre (OICC) and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) have been given a $3.85 million research grant to look into the effects of naturopathic medicine combined with conventional medicine.

The two Ottawa-based institutions will be researching the effectiveness of different types of medicines used in conjunction with one another for cancer patients; specifically, esophageal, gastric and lung cancer patients who will undergo surgery.

OICC and OHRI’s project is called Thoracic Peri-Operative Integrative Surgical Care Evaluation (Thoracic POISE). The first intent of the project is to work towards the best health, before and after surgery, for patients and to reach for the best outcomes. The project’s second intent is to carry out a control trial to investigate whether integrative medicine is seen to reduce unfavourable events and aid in survival free of disease.

The study will take place over 11 years and track 300 patients.

Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health, says the project “is an excellent opportunity for our top-notch researchers to demonstrate how innovation and cooperation can lead to improved overall health outcomes.”

The study’s team is made up of surgeons, oncologists, naturopathic doctors, PhD research specialists and a health economist.

Executive Director of the OICC and the Director of Research for CCNM, Dugald Seely is the co-lead for the project. He says the research from the study “will help determine when complementary care is appropriate and may potentially lead to enhanced standards of medical practice that can positively impact patients’ lives.”

Fellow project co-lead Dr. Andrew Seely, an associate scientist at The Ottawa Hospital, director of research for its Division of Thoracic Surgery and an associate professor at the University of Ottawa, describes the study as “an innovative whole-person approach involving naturopathic medicine integrated with traditional care.”

The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) is  Canada’s leading institute for naturopathic medicine education and research. An arm of the CCNM, the OICC, is Central and Eastern Canada’s first integrative centre for cancer care and research.

Bob Bernhardt, president and CEO of CCNM, says both institutes “are committed to clinical research in areas where we believe naturopathic medicine could improve health outcomes for Canadians.”

The research grant for the project was provided by a Canadian foundation that wishes to remain anonymous.