Sylvester’s Cancer Survivorship Research Pilot Program
In a continuous effort to promote survivorship pilot research, funding has been awarded to studies that can potentially improve the health of specific cancer populations. The goals of these awards are to increase research in cancer survivorship and translational behavioral sciences, to foster the development of new interdisciplinary research teams that focus on important problems and do so in a novel, effective and transformative manner, and to provide a pathway by which investigators can generate preliminary information that will serve to optimize their changes of successfully competing for national level peer reviewed funding.
We received multiple and very competitive applications for this award. Based on a peer-reviewed process, we are pleased to announce two teams of awardees of the inaugural Cancer Survivorship Research Pilot Program:
Principal Investigators: Youngmee Kim, Ph.D. and Maria Abreu, M.D.
Title: Dyadic sleep regulation as a pathway of participant-reported and microbiota health in colorectal cancer survivorship
Project Summary: Cancer affects not only the person with the disease, but also family members. Sleep disturbance is common among cancer patients and their family caregivers. Chronic sleep disturbance is linked to various morbidities and mortality. Thus, sleep disturbance in adult cancer patients and their caregivers is a substantial health problem requiring further investigation. This Sylvester Survivorship Award will enable us to test the feasibility and acceptability of gut microbiome assessment and to obtain preliminary parameter estimates of the association of sleep coregulatory patterns within a patient-caregiver dyad with health outcomes measured subjectively (PROMIS) and objectively (fecal microbiome). Understanding pathways by which sleep disturbance creates premature health problems, and how those effects are moderated by the interpersonal aspects of sleep behaviors between cancer patients and their sleep partners who share health behaviors, will open pathways to precision medicine and to target vulnerable dyads for intervention.
Principal Investigator: Stuart Samuels, M.D.
Title: Symptomatic and functional impact of radiation induced fibrosis of the neck after head & neck cancer treatment
Project Summary: Radiation is commonly used as a primary treatment for head and neck cancer and radiation-induced fibrosis (RIF) of the neck is a severe late side effect from this treatment. Currently, little is known about the incidence or severity of this side effect, nor is it understood why some patients develop it and some do not. Patients enrolled are those who have completed head and neck cancer treatment including radiotherapy. Enrolled patients fill out a quality of life survey designed specifically to assess neck fibrosis. In addition to patient reported outcome (PRO) data, objective clinical data is collected from a comprehensive physical exam performed by a physiatrist (Dr. Laura Huang). PRO and clinical data are correlated with dosimetric data obtained from the patients’ own radiation treatment plans to identify doses to organs at risk (such as the skin, sternocleidomastoid muscle or subcutaneous fascia) that correlate with PRO and clinical outcomes. The goal is to identify radiation dose thresholds for organs that predict for severe RIF and could therefore be modified in future treatment plans to mitigate RIF. This study is intended to be a springboard that will lead to future translational research investigating the biological basis of RIF as well a clinical trial where modified radiation treatment plans could potentially mitigate or even prevent RIF.
A survivorship newsletter is circulated every quarter to the UHealth and Cancer Center community. The newsletter highlights all the latest news in Survivorship including updates and information on Survivorship initiatives, specialty survivorship clinics and upcoming events