East meets West in cancer care collaboration
Initial discussions will get underway September 24-25 when University officials meet in day-long workshops at McMaster with representatives from Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine and Hong Kong Polytechnic University, institutions which are world leaders in TCM and information technology. To this new consortium, McMaster brings its expertise in problem-based learning and evidence-based medicine and state-of-the-art cancer management strategies.
Raimond Wong, associate professor of oncology and medicine in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, and Andrea Baumann, associate vice-president, Faculty of Health Sciences, International Health, will host the knowledge sharing workshop. McMaster representatives from medicine, oncology, nursing and rehabilitation sciences have also been invited.
"Traditional Chinese medicine can play an important role in the maintenance of human health and well-being," said Wong. "Health professionals, scientists, academics, government and private sectors throughout the world are becoming increasingly interested in studying and developing traditional Chinese medicine and investigating ways that these traditional approaches can be integrated with Western medicine," he said.
Baumann said people suffer many symptoms as a result of a variety of cancer-related diseases and treatment. "It is important to test and explore all potential therapies that would alleviate suffering," she said. "Traditional Chinese medicine has been in North America for several years now. These partnerships begin to frame evidence around common practices and give patients and families important alternatives in symptom control."
In advancing integrative TCM anti-cancer research globally, the three institutions will collaborate in screening and authenticating TCM herbs for their anti-cancer care potential and conduct clinical studies on the application of herbs in cancer treatment and acupuncture in cancer management.
McMaster is affiliated with the Juravinski Cancer Centre (JCC), the first Canadian institute to advocate complementary and alternative medicine and TCM research using evidence-based approaches in cancer care. JCC has already established a research link with Hong Kong Polytechnic University through which it is exploring TCM herbal use in cancer treatment.
The knowledge sharing workshop is funded by the International Development Research Centre, a federal government corporation which supports partnerships between Canadian researchers and those working in developing countries.