The overarching goal of the Department of Symptom Research is to reduce the symptom burden produced by cancer and its therapy. The term "symptom burden" includes the severity of symptoms and the degree to which symptoms interfere with daily living. We are working to reduce the symptom burden caused by disease, increase the tolerability of therapy for patients undergoing treatment, and improve recovery for cancer survivors by reducing symptomatic late effects of treatment.
In pursuit of these goals, the department employs a two-pronged translational approach that ranges from bedside to bench and from bench to bedside:
- Clinical research consists of observational and interventional clinical research focused on educational, behavioral and medical interventions for cancer-related and treatment-related symptoms, along with instrument development and methodology studies to design, validate, and deploy symptom-assessment questionnaires for patient-reported outcomes (PRO)-based investigations. Our Symptom Assessment Platform provides long-term, expedited collaboration with drug developers to include the patient’s perspective in the development of new oncology treatments.
- Preclinical research in our Neuroimmunology Lab focuses on animal and in vitro studies to elucidate the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the symptoms that develop in response to cancer and its treatment, including cognitive impairment, pain, and fatigue. We are developing preclinical and translational studies on regenerative medicine for treatment of neurotoxic symptoms, and we seek to expand our preclinical and translational efforts to develop, identify, and test novel drugs for neurotoxicities.
We actively collaborate with basic scientists, clinicians, and imaging experts across MD Anderson.