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New Research Shows Promise in Using Traditional Research Methods to Assess Efficacy of Complementary Therapies
Date:11/12/2009

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL, Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- New research findings presented today at the Society for Integrative Oncology's (SIO) Sixth International Conference in New York show promise in assessing the efficacy and safety of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) using traditional research methods. Susan Sencer, MD, Medical Director, Hematology/Oncology at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota (Children's), presented findings on the use of the homeopathic agent Traumeel S® in children with mucositis undergoing stem cell transplantation (SCT). Investigated by the Children's Oncology Group, the multi-center randomized placebo controlled trial is the first large-scale pediatric oncology trial of a CAM treatment.

Mucositis is a painful side effect of many cancer treatment regimens. Mucositis can cause intense pain, infection and the inability to eat, drink or swallow, and there are few known treatments for the condition. A small pilot study of the homeopathic agent Traumeel S® had previously shown promise in treating and preventing this serious complication of cancer therapy. Results of the current larger study did not confirm the earlier study, but showed the potential for CAM therapies to be evaluated using the same methodology as other medical treatments. Mainstream medicine relies upon conventional, validated research methods such as the randomized, blinded controlled trial to help guide clinical practice; CAM methods have not always been easily evaluated with these techniques, contributing to CAM's lack of acceptance by many physicians.

"We know complementary treatments can be very helpful for pediatric patients, but there is limited research to support our clinical observations," said Dr. Sencer. "While we found this treatment to be ineffective for mucositis, I'm excited about the potential this trial has for the future of complementary and alternative medicine research."

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SOURCE Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
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