Research at the OICC

The OICC is an innovative research centre and integrative health care clinic. Our research is led by the Executive Director of the OICC who also serves as the Executive Director of Research & Clinical Epidemiology for the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM). Our research is jointly run with CCNM and other research partners to conduct clinical trials, observational studies, and synthesis research relating to complementary and integrative medicine for cancer.

Research Summaries for Integrative Therapies

To support informed decision-making, we are committed to developing evidence-based Research Summaries for Integrative Therapies, also called monographs, to summarize the safety and effectiveness of commonly used complementary therapies and natural health products in the context of cancer.

Here you will find the Research Summaries we have published to date. There are patient versions (a quick summary) as well as health professional versions (a longer, more detailed summary). We do our best to keep the monographs up to date, however be aware the monographs only encompass information known at the time of writing.

Patient Versions

Mistletoe (Viscum album) last updated January 2020
Intravenous Vitamin C  last updated August 2019
Coriolus Versicolor (Turkey Tail Mushroom) last updated October 2015
Dichloroacetate (DCA) last updated July 2015
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) last updated March 2014
Green Tea (Camellia sinensis) last updated February 2014
Acupuncture last updated February 2014
Black Cohosh for Breast Cancer last updated February 2014
Flax for Breast Cancer last updated February 2014
Red Clover for Breast Cancer last updated February 2014
Soy for Breast Cancer last updated February 2014
Vitamin D for Breast Cancer last updated February 2014

Health Professional Versions

Mistletoe (Viscum album)  last updated January 2020 
Intravenous Vitamin C  last updated July 2019
Coriolus Versicolor (Turkey Tail Mushroom) last updated October 2015
Acupuncture  last updated February 2014 
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) last updated January 2014
Green Tea (Camellia sinensis) last updated January 2014 
Dichloroacetate (DCA) last updated October 2013
Black Cohosh for Breast Cancer last updated August 2013
Flax for Breast Cancer last updated August 2013
Red Clover for Breast Cancer last updated August 2013
Soy for Breast Cancer last updated August 2013
Vitamin D for Breast Cancer last updated August 2013

Current OICC Research Studies

The Thoracic Peri-Operative Integrative Surgical Care Evaluation (POISE) Trial

Study Status: Recruiting

The OICC and CCNM research have partnered with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute to create the first randomized clinical trial in North America studying the real-world effects of integrative care guided by a naturopathic doctor (ND) in patients with lung and gastro-esophageal cancers. Patients in this study will receive either recommendations from an ND alongside their conventional treatments (integrative group) or conventional care alone (control group). Outcome measures include quality of life, qualitative experience, adverse events, blood markers, and survival outcomes. Together with other clinics across Ontario, the study team will recruit and follow 350 participants over the next 10 years.

Clinical trials identifier: NCT02845479

A Prospective Outcomes Evaluation of Inspire Now - A Program for People with Lung Cancer

Study Status: Recruiting

The OICC research team is evaluating the Inspire Now program – a support program for people living with lung cancer. 50 program participants will be recruited in order to determine if the program has an effect on the quality of life, specific concerns, and general wellbeing of the participants. Researchers are utilizing quantitative and qualitative methods to track participant experiences throughout the program. This study is currently active and recruiting with each program session; all who are eligible for the program are able to participate in this research study. 

Adjuvant Melatonin in the Prevention of Recurrence and Mortality Following Lung Cancer Resection: A Randomized Placebo Controlled Clinical Trial (AMPLCaRe)

Study Status: Closed to Recruitment

Through a partnership with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, the OICC and CCNM research have conducted the first randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial studying the effects of melatonin in surgically resected lung cancer. With 8 sites across Canada, we were able to enrol 709 participants over a period of 10 years. Measured outcomes included the incidence of cancer recurrence, quality of life, sleep, fatigue, adverse events, and survival outcomes. This study is now closed to recruitment, and the manuscript is currently submitted for publication.

Clinical trials identifier: NCT00668707

The Canadian/US Integrative Oncology Study (CUSIOS). Advanced integrative oncology treatment for patients with advanced stage cancer

Study Status: Closed to Recruitment

Working in partnership with Bastyr University, the OICC and CCNM research have initiated a North American study to explore the impact of advanced integrative care delivered by NDs for patients with advanced breast, colorectal, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer. 12 clinics across NA have recruited patients to participate in this prospective observational study to describe quality of life, costs, qualitative experiences, and survival outcomes. Recruitment is now complete, with 400 patients enrolled. Participants will continue to be followed until 2022.

Clinical trials identifier: NCT02494037

Exploring the effectiveness of a Yoga Therapy Program to Improve Physical and Psychological Outcomes Among Cancer Survivors

Study Status: Closed to Recruitment

This study aims to explore the effectiveness of the yoga therapy program offered at the OICC for improving autonomic nervous system functioning and patient-reported outcomes among cancer survivors. Anecdotal evidence suggests yoga therapy can help lower stress, increase body awareness, and feelings of empowerment; however, the effectiveness of this intervention in promoting autonomic nervous system functioning and improving patient-reported outcomes has not been empirically evaluated. Specifically, the study seeks to determine if there are changes in self-reported and objective autonomic nervous system functioning in cancer survivors before and after a one-on-one yoga therapy session, and after a 6 week group yoga therapy program, and whether these changes are maintained for 6 weeks after completion of the yoga program. This study is a collaborative effort between the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Center and the University of Ottawa.

High-Dose Vitamin D3 Supplementation in Stage 4 Colorectal Cancer Patients

Study Status: Closed to Recruitment

The OICC is a sub-site for a collaborative research study with InspireHealth in British Columbia. The purpose of the clinical trial is to study the therapeutic effect and safety of high-dose vitamin D supplementation in people with stage 4 (metastatic) colorectal cancer. Participants are randomized to high-dose vitamin D treatment or a control group. Recruitment for this study is completed. 

Clinical trials identifier: NCT01150877

 

Research Team

Dugald

Dr. Dugald Seely, ND, M.Sc.

Founder & Executive Director

As founder and executive director for the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre (OICC), Dr. Dugald Seely ND is pioneering an innovative model of cancer care based on the provision and study of scientifically grounded, evidence-informed complementary medicine. With the establishment of the first integrative cancer care and research centre in Eastern Canada, Dr. Seely and his team are providing whole-person integrative care to people living with cancer and conducting relevant research in the realm of integrative medicine.

Dr. Seely completed his MSc in cancer research at the University of Toronto and is a Fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology (FABNO). As a clinician scientist, Dr. Seely has been awarded competitive grant and trainee funding from the Lotte and John Hecht Memorial Foundation, CIHR, CBCRA, the SickKids Foundation, and the Gateway for Cancer Research. In addition to clinical research, Dr. Seely has conducted and supervised dozens of synthesis reviews and meta-analyses with the goal of building on the growing body of evidence that supports integrative oncology.

Dr. Seely serves as executive director of research & clinical epidemiology at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, is an adjunct professor with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa, and is an affiliate investigator with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. Dr. Seely is section editor for Integrative Oncology with the journal, Current Oncology, and is the President of the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians (OncANP). Dr. Seely has published over 70 Medline indexed peer-reviewed publications and speaks at national and international conferences with the goal of expanding consciousness towards a more proactive model of healthcare. In 2017 Dr. Seely was the recipient of the Dr. Rogers Prize for excellence in Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Outside of professional life, Dugald likes to spend time on outdoor adventures with his family traveling, hiking and biking or indoors playing all manner of card and board games.

Ellen

Dr. Ellen Conte (McDonell), ND

Naturopathic Doctor & Researcher

Dr. Ellen Conte (McDonell), ND is a naturopathic doctor and researcher focusing on supportive cancer care and general health concerns. In her clinical practice, Ellen uses evidence-informed therapies to help manage symptoms and side effects of cancer and cancer treatment, provide adjunctive care for the management and prevention of cancer, and optimize overall health. Ellen primarily utilizes nutrition, nutritional supplementation, exercise counseling, herbal medicine, and lifestyle counseling to support people.  Through research at the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre, Ellen works to improve cancer outcomes by studying the effects of a complementary and integrative approach to cancer care.  Her work has been published in peer-reviewed medical journals and presented at conferences.

Ellen obtained her doctor of naturopathy from The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM), and has a degree in biochemistry from the University of Ottawa. She completed an internship in adjunctive cancer care while at CCNM, completed a two year cancer-focused residency through CCNM, and regularly attends oncology-focused medical conferences. Ellen is an active member of the naturopathic medical community; she is Chair of the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physician's Research Committee, contributes to writing and peer-review of naturopathic medical publications including the Natural Medicine Journal and the Vital Link, and previously served as President of the Naturopathic Students Union. Ellen is a member of the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians, Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors, and is registered with the College of Naturopaths of Ontario.

Although Ellen is a Haligonian who misses the ocean, she has developed a love for Ottawa and in particular the active outdoor community. An avid runner and triathlete, when not at work she’s usually outside rain or shine enjoying the river, canal, and trails in the area.

Mark

Mark Legacy

Clinical Research Assistant

Mark is a clinical researcher working to improve patient care by looking into complementary treatments that embrace a holistic and integrative approach to traditional practices at most hospitals. Mark developed an early interest in research while completing his degree in biomedical sciences at the University of Ottawa. Now a full-time researcher for the OICC, Mark collaborates with many different institutions across Canada and North America to design and coordinate clinical trials and observational studies. With most of his research being the first of its kind, Mark and his colleagues are eager to provide new insights to the field of integrative oncology. 

Rebecca

Rebecca Vanschyndel

Qualitative Research Consultant

Rebecca completed the Masters Program in Health Sciences, Occupational Therapy at the University of Ottawa. She has practiced as an Occupational Therapist in the community for many years. She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Ottawa in the Health Sciences, Rehabilitation Sciences Program. Rebecca is a Qualitative Research Consultant with the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Center.

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Dr. Athanasios Psihogios, ND

Research Assistant

Dr. Athanasios (Thanasi) Psihogios ND is an integrative oncology researcher dedicated to advancing this pioneer-type field in order to provide patients with safe and efficacious therapy options. Currently, in order to expand his research abilities and knowledge, Thanasi is completing a Master of Public Health degree. In addition to health research, with his background and passion for philosophy, Thanasi is particularly interested in the reasoning and modes of thinking behind peoples’ decision to use integrative medicine.

Since 2017, currently a senior research assistant, Thanasi has worked with the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians (OncANP) on the Knowledge in Naturopathic Oncology Website (KNOW) database. This project is dedicated to collecting, summarizing and critically appraising integrative oncology research to be utilized by clinicians to make evidence-informed clinical decisions. Prior to becoming an OICC research resident, Thanasi was a volunteer research assistant with the clinic, with his most notable project involvement being the Integrative Pediatric Oncology Program (IPOP) practice survey. His work on this project, pertaining to practice trends in naturopathic pediatric cancer care, has been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal and presented at a conference.

Thanasi graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine with a Doctor of Naturopathy degree. He received a BA from the University of Ottawa, with a focus on both health science and philosophy.

Research Publications

Browse by Year

2019

Intervention Development Process for a Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trial: The Thoracic Peri-Operative Integrative Surgical Care Evaluation Trial

Authors: Seely, D., Ennis, J.E., McDonell, E., et al.

Publication: Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

Citedate: March 19, 2019

Citation: J Altern Complement Med. 2019;25(S1):S112-S123.

PMID: 30870012

 

A systematic review of acupuncture for chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy

Authors: Li, K., Giustini, D., & Seely, D.

Publication: Current Oncology

Citedate: April 1, 2019

Citation: Curr Oncol. 2019 Apr;26(2):e147-e154.

PMID: 31043820

 

Chapter 5 of Women's Health and Complementary and Integrative Medicine: Women's cancers and complementary and integrative medicine

Authors: Schloss, J., Alschuler, L., & McDonell, E.

Citedate: 2019

Citation: In: Adams J, ed. Women's Health and Complementary and Integrative Medicine. Abingdon, UK: Routledge; 2019: 63-76

Read Publication Here.

 

Editorial: The Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians Principles of Care Guidelines

Authors: Seely, D., & Verma, S.

Publication: Current Oncology

Citedate: February 1, 2019

Citation: Curr Oncol. 2019. Vol 26, No 1.

PMID: 30853791

 

Integrative Oncology: International Perspectives

Authors: Grant, S.J., Hunter, J., Seely, D., Balneaves, L.G., Rossi, E., & Bao, T.

Publication: Integrative Cancer Therapies

Citedate: January 30, 2019

Citation: Integr Cancer Ther. 2019. Jan-Dec;18

PMID: 30791736

2018
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Browse by Subject

Intravenous Vitamin C

Intravenous vitamin C in the supportive care of cancer patients: a review and rational approach

Authors: E. Klimant, MD, H. Wright, ND, D. Rubin, ND, D. Seely, ND, M.Sc.,and M. Markman, MD
Citedate: Monday, April 30, 2018
Citation: Curr Oncol. 2018 Apr; 25(2): 139–148.
PMID: 29719430

Intravenous Vitamin C and Cancer: A Systematic Review

Authors: Fritz H, Flower G, Weeks L, Cooley K, Callachan M, McGowan J, Skidmore B, Kirchner L, Seely D
Affiliations: The Canadian College of Naturopathic Mediicne, Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre, University of Toronto, Carp Ridge Natural Health Clinic, Ottawa Hospital Research INstitute
Citedate: Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Citation: Integr Cancer Ther. 2014 May 26;13(4):280-300.
PMID: 24867961
Natural Health Products
Symptom Management
Breast Cancer
Lung Cancer
Pediatrics

Browse by Methodology

Review

Intravenous vitamin C in the supportive care of cancer patients: a review and rational approach

Authors: Klimant, E., Wright, H., D. Rubin, Seely, D. & Markman, M.

Publication: Current Oncology

Citedate: Monday, April 30, 2018

Citation: Curr Oncol. 2018 Apr; 25(2): 139–148.

PMID: 29719430

 

Decision-making about complementary and alternative medicine by cancer patients: integrative literature review

Authors: Weeks, L., Balneaves, L.G., Paterson, C., Verhoef, M.

Publication: Open Medicine

Affiliations: Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre, University of British Columbia, University of Bristol, University of Calgary

Citedate: Monday, April 14, 2014

Citation: Open Med. 2014 Apr 15;8(2):e54-66

PMID: 25009685

 

A comparative review of thermography as a breast cancer screening technique

Authors: Kennedy, D., Lee, T., & Seely, D.

Affiliations:The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine

Citedate: Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Citation: Integrative Cancer Therapies 2009;8(1):9-16.

PMID: 19223370

 

A strategy for controlling potential interactions between natural health products and chemotherapy: a review in pediatric oncology

Authors:Seely, D., Stempak, D., & Baruchel, S.

Publication: Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Affiliations: Hospital for Sick Children

Citedate: Sunday, December 31, 2006

Citation:Journal Pediatric Hematol Oncol, 2007;29(1):32-47.

PMID: 17230065

Systematic Reviews & Meta-Analyses
Clinical Trials
Surveys
Feasibility Studies
Pre-Clinical Studies
Other Studies

Research Partners

To help achieve our goal to advance the practice of integrative oncology in Canada, the OICC has established partnerships with several local, national and international investigators and several research organizations.

Research Funders

The OICC gratefully acknowledges support of our research funders.

Canadian Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research Fund

The primary goal of the Canadian Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research Fund (CCRF) is to increase and enhance complementary medicine research capacity in Canada by supporting and funding relevant and high caliber studies. Funding through the CCRF has being used to support two studies: 1) Towards Integrative Cancer Care: A Participatory, Formative Evaluation of Practitioner Integration at the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre; and 2) An n-of-1 study of homeopathic treatment of fatigue in patients receiving chemotherapy.

Canadian Institutes of Health Research

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada’s premier agency for health research. Funding through the CIHR has being used to support OICC efforts towards: Developing a Community-Based Integrative Oncology Research Program. CIHR funding has also helped support two large scale synthesis reviews on natural health products used by people with lung and breast cancer respectively and led to a number of open access publications.

Gateway for Cancer Research

Since their beginning nearly 20 years ago, the Gateway for Cancer Research has sought better treatment options for cancer patients—options that extend life, improve quality of life, and strive to cure people. 

Lotte and John Hecht Memorial Foundation

One of the Lotte and John Hecht Memorial Foundation's two major objectives is to support the investigation and support of complementary and alternative medicine, particularly in the treatment of cancer. Funding through the Lotte and John Hecht Memorial Foundation initially supported a  multi-phase feasibility study that informed the development of the OICC model. In addition, the Hecht foundation is the main supporter of the multi-site Canadian trial, the Adjuvant Melatonin in the Prevention of Recurrence and Mortality Following Lung Cancer Resection: A Randomized Placebo Controlled Clinical Trial (AMPLCaRe). Their support is also behind two of the major research projects that the OICC is running including CUSIOS and TPOISE.

Interdisciplinary Network of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research

INCAM is a collaborative and interdisciplinary research community in Canada generating knowledge through research on complementary, alternative, and integrative medicine/health care* to enhance the health of Canadians.

Since its launch in 2004, INCAM has been instrumental in defining a CAM research community in Canada. Today, INCAM is the place to go for researchers, educators and practitioners who are interested in research which aims to address challenging questions in innovative ways in this emerging area of practice and research.

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Research Contact

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