$3M research grant awarded to Canada-US researchers

Investigating the impact of naturopathic medicine on late stage cancer survival.

Largest-ever North American observational study to assess integrative oncology for advanced cancer patients.

OTTAWA, March 31, 2015 – Canadian and American health-care professionals will work together to study the effectiveness of advanced integrative oncology (AIO) treatment for patients with late stage cancer. AIO treatment includes elements of conventional and naturopathic medicine. 

The funding was announced today by the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre (OICC) in Ottawa, Canada, an arm of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM), and the Bastyr University Research Institute in Washington State, USA. 

The $3 million grant, provided by a private Canadian foundation that wishes to remain anonymous, will fund the Canadian/US Integrative Oncology Study (CUSIOS). This is the largest-ever North American observational study to assess integrative oncology for people with late stage cancer.

The goals of CUSIOS are to observe and measure the overall survival of a cohort of late stage (III and IV) cancer patients who receive AIO treatments and, to describe integrative therapies provided by naturopathic doctors across the cohort. A total of 400 people with advanced breast, colorectal, pancreatic and ovarian cancer will be studied in seven clinics across North America over three years.  Each selected site provides comprehensive whole-person care in naturopathic oncology, applying science-based treatment for people with late stage cancer. 

Integrative oncology aims to combine the best of conventional and whole-person naturopathic care seamlessly and safely to:  improve survival, enhance quality of life, reduce side effects from conventional treatment and help prevent recurrence.

AIO therapies used by naturopathic doctors for late stage cancer are directed at multiple mechanisms to slow tumour progression, prevent metastatic spread and improve survival.  The therapies are variable but may include intravenous vitamin C, intravenous artemisinin, intravenous dichloroacetate, mistletoe, hyperthermia, nutritional protocols and the use of immunomodulatory, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory natural health products. 

“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to assess the effect advanced integrative oncology can have on survival rates in late stage cancer patients,” said Dugald Seely, ND, MSc, FABNO, Executive Director of OICC, Director of Research for CCNM, and Canadian lead investigator for CUSIOS. “The results of this study will provide valuable insight on the role of naturopathic medicine in cancer care and will lead to the conduct of more rigorous randomized controlled trials.”   

“We have chosen to study the outcomes of naturopathic oncology because this area of integrative oncology is currently leading the field in the application of advanced natural medicine therapeutics,” said Leanna Standish, ND, PhD, FABNO, Professor at the Bastyr University Research Institute, and American lead investigator of CUSIOS. “We will collect survival outcomes on late stage cancer patients treated at multiple naturopathic oncology clinics in North America in order to address the fundamentally important question of whether or not AIO has a beneficial impact on survival.”  

Bob Bernhardt, President and CEO of CCNM added, “It is through exemplary research collaborations such as CUSIOS that we continue to assess the benefits and advance the clinical evidence-base for naturopathic medicine, making it more integral to our health care system and accessible to Canadians. CCNM and the OICC conduct world-leading research and we are proud to align with Bastyr University in co-leading this critically important study for late stage cancer patients.”

“It is an honor to collaborate with the brightest minds in Canada on such an important study,” said Bastyr University President Daniel K. Church, PhD. “In partnership with our colleagues at CCNM and OICC I hope we will uncover valuable insight into how integrative oncology care may have a positive impact on those with late stage cancer.”

About the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre

The Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre (OICC) is the first integrative cancer care and research centre in Central and Eastern Canada.  As a not-for-profit, regional centre of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, the OICC welcomes patients at any stage of cancer as well as those wishing to prevent cancer or its recurrence.  The Centre works with patients and physicians, to provide therapeutic programs that decrease side effects and promote health and improve quality of life during and after conventional treatment.  Through clinical practice, research and education, the OICC strives to assess and reduce possible causes of cancer while exploring innovative integrative treatment approaches.  For more information, please visit www.oicc.ca

About Bastyr University

Bastyr University is internationally recognized as a pioneer in natural medicine. As the largest accredited university for natural health arts and sciences in the U.S., Bastyr’s campus located near Seattle, Washington, offers more than 20 degree and certificate programs in fields such as naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, midwifery and whole-food nutrition. Founded in 1978, the University now includes a leading-edge research facility (the Bastyr University Research Institute) and outstanding clinical training at Bastyr Center for Natural Health, ranked as one of the Puget Sound’s top medical facilities for patient experience in 2013. The University’s second campus, Bastyr University California opened in San Diego, in fall 2012, becoming California’s first and only accredited school of naturopathic medicine. 

About the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine

For almost 40 years, the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) has been Canada’s premier institute for education and research in naturopathic medicine.  CCNM educates and trains naturopathic doctors through its rigorous four-year, full-time program, culminating in the only naturopathic degree in Canada. For more information, please visit www.ccnm.edu

About Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic medicine is a system of primary health care that promotes wellness and the prevention of illness and disease. It blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine, and plays an important role in integrative health care. Naturopathic treatments can be used on their own or together with conventional medicine.

Media Contacts:

Heidi Vincent, MBA
Public Relations
Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre

Karam Singh
Media & Community Relations Officer
Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
416-498-1255 ext 263

Derek Wing
Associate Director of Media and PR
Bastyr University