Cancer can take a heavy toll on those who are afflicted with it, but for some patients, treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation can feel worse than the disease. Cedarville University pharmacy students are doing their part to help ease the discomfort. 

The Cedarville University School of Pharmacy has partnered with 4CancerWellness (4CW) in Dayton, Ohio, to support cancer patients by evaluating potential new vitamins and supplements that could help with the effects of cancer and cancer treatments. The goal: “Helping cancer patients to feel better and do better,” which is the 4CW mission statement. 

Under this partnership, faculty and students from the school will work with 4CW team members to evaluate the existing literature on the role of vitamins, other supplements, and wellness behaviors in cancer treatment; conduct systematic reviews, and prepare clinical trial protocols for 4CancerWellness. 

“This partnership gives our students opportunities for experience and research,” said Dr. Aleda Chen, associate dean of the school of pharmacy and associate professor of pharmacy practice. “Students who are especially interested in oncology or cancer as part of their career will have opportunities to work in that area before they pursue specialized training.” 

Students involved in the research include fourth-year pharmacy students Erin Ballentine of Walkersville, Maryland, and Renee Allison of Seven Fields, Pennsylvania, and third-year pharmacy students Alex Goodridge of Cedarville, Ohio; Andrew Barnhart of Warren, Ohio; Hayley Trout of Pickerington, Ohio; and Megan Stevens of Uniontown, Ohio. 

Assistant professor of pharmacy practice Dr. Bethany Sibbitt, chair and associate professor of pharmacy practice Dr. Justin Cole and Chen will serve in supporting roles. 

SafeVite, a daily multivitamin developed by 4CW, will be the first product studied in collaboration with Cedarville’s school of pharmacy, using a double-blinded randomized control trial. Dr. John Haluschak, CEO and one of the founders of 4CW, explained that cancer patients represent a unique population. 

“When deciding on supplements, patients and their providers should address potential interactions with cancer treatments, the more common deficiencies as well as risks of elevated levels of the more harmful vitamins in this unique population,” Haluschak said. “This is a priority at 4CancerWellness, and we are extremely proud of our collaboration with Cedarville University’s School of Pharmacy to validate our multivitamin, SafeVite.”

“It’s more about minimizing toxicity, not interfering with cancer treatments, and allowing for successful completion of curative treatments,” Haluschak continued. 

Cedarville and 4CW first connected through Dr. Beth Delaney. In addition to serving as a nurse practitioner for people with a history of cancer, Delaney was an associate professor in Cedarville’s school of nursing until spring 2021, when she left to become the chief nursing officer and vice president of supportive services at 4CW. 

Learning about Delaney’s new post, Dr. Samson Amos, chair and associate professor of pharmaceutical science, who has a research interest in cancer treatments, suggested the collaboration with 4CW

“I love what happens at Cedarville University. I’ve had the opportunity to observe the excellence that faculty members regularly display at Cedarville,” Delaney said.

Bottle of breast cancer Drug Tukysa
[Photo Credit: Seattle Genetics via AP] Breast Cancer Drug Tukysa

The current agreement between the Cedarville school of pharmacy and 4CW is set to last for a year, though both parties said this may be the beginning of a long-term collaboration. 

The name 4CancerWellness represents the organization’s four cornerstones of wellness – mindset, nutrition, activity, and support. 4CW hopes to help people touched by a cancer diagnosis to pursue a holistic approach to healthy behaviors of one’s body, mind and spirit, while at the same time offering appropriate supplements. 

“We are all about trying to help support core cancer treatment and fill in understandable gaps in the healthcare system,” Delaney said. “We are not a competitor with the cancer team. We are, we hope, their best supporter and trusted collaborator.” 

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,715 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including the Doctor of Pharmacy program, strong graduation, and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and high student engagement ranking. For more information about the University, visit cedarville.edu.