Biobehavioral Sciences

Enhancing Survival: Research Underway

INSPIRE: Internet Studies to Enhance Long Term Survivorship after Hematologic Malignancy 
Principal Investigator: Karen Syrjala, PhD

This project's goal is to use an internet-based program, called INSPIRE, to reduce depression and transplant-related emotional distress, and to improve health behaviors among adult hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCST) survivors. The project builds on our previous work showing that internet intervention is effective at reducing depression and distress for survivors at a single site. By improving upon our earlier interventions and extending them to multiple transplant centers, we expect to strengthen the intervention's reach and efficacy, and to advance the science of providing internet-based health behavior change models to cancer survivors. If effective, the program could be disseminated nationwide for long-term HSCT survivors and would provide a framework for similar survivorship care models in non-HSCT cancer survivor populations.

Muscle Joint and Bone: Musculoskeletal Health in Long Term Transplant Survivors Study
Principal Investigator: Karen Syrjala, PhD

This NCI-funded project's goals are to determine late effects that contribute to determining musculoskeletal dysfunction in survivors of hematologic malignancies with or without hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). We assess survivors and bring local survivors to our Center for a day of testing including body composition scans, treadmill testing and multiple lab tests.

Specifically we are examining:

  1. The relationship between objective behavioral measures of muscle weakness (grip strength), physical inactivity and subjective complaints of muscle weakness and fatigue.
  2. The relationship of inflammatory cytokines and muscle-related growth factor to reports of muscle weakness, leg cramps and joint or muscle stiffness and pain.
  3. Whether cancer survivors with objective muscle weakness or inactivity have muscle mitochondrial energy coupling ratios more similar to the elderly than to age-matched norms, providing preliminary evidence of increased levels of mitochondrial uncoupling in muscles of these survivors.

Survivorship Center of Excellence Grant
Director, Principal Investigator: K. Scott Baker, MD MSc
Co-Director, Principal Investigator: Karen Syrjala, PhD
Medical Co-Director: Stephanie Lee, MD
Medical Co-Director: Julie Gralow, MD
Program Manager: Emily Jo Rajotte, MPH

This Lance Armstrong LIVESTRONG Foundation grant creates a comprehensive survivorship program, with outreach to all cancer survivors throughout the lifespan. With the SCCA oncology network sites in the Northwest, we are developing stronger community resources, targeting underserved populations. We are evaluating unique models of care, which are designed to overcome some of the barriers to optimal health services and access to research for survivors. This survivorship program provides a foundation for research defining survivorship barriers, needs and treatments to optimize survivor long-term care.

Research Collaborations:

Distress in Women Receiving Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer
Principal Investigator: Jesse Fann, MD, MPH

This American Cancer Society funded study aims to improve the understanding of depression and its treatment during the course of chemotherapy for breast cancer. Women with stage I, II, and III breast cancer receiving neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy were interviewed during consecutive chemotherapy infusions to assess depression and anxiety symptoms, use of psychological services, and depression treatment preferences. This study is one of the first to longitudinally document the course of depression and anxiety symptoms and their treatment during chemotherapy for breast cancer.

Incidence of Suicide in a National U.S. Cancer Registry
Principal Investigator: Stephanie Misono, MD, MPH; Co-Investigator: Jesse Fann, MD, MPH

This study examined the overall suicide rates in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End-Results (SEER) data base and determined the demographic and cancer-related characteristics associated with increased suicide risk among cancer patients.