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Current Research at the Phyllis F. Cantor Center

  • The Cantor Center conducts research with the goal of improving quality of life for patients, survivors, families, clinicians, and caregivers.

    Examples of our research include:

    • Leveraging patient knowledge to improve practice models
    • Creating decision-support algorithms for patients and providers
    • Measuring the impact of identifying and screening individuals at a high risk for hereditary cancer
    • Designing a system to support caregivers of individuals undergoing cancer treatment
    • Addressing communication disparities in cancer care
    • Lifestyle and systems-level interventions for lung cancer

    Current research projects include:

    Development and Evaluation of an Educational Website for Hodgkin Lymphoma Survivors

    Principal Investigator: Meghan Underhill, PhD, APRN

    Survivorship needs of HD survivors are complex, multifactorial, unique to everyone, and often changing. Providing HD survivors with knowledge and tools for survivorship self-care and follow-up medical care can be a powerful adjunct to clinical services. The study aims to build on our preliminary development work to engage key patient and provider stakeholders to develop a comprehensive psychoeducational intervention for HD survivors through a user-centered design framework.


    Exploring the Feasibility of a Mindfulness-Music Intervention to Reduce Anxiety in Adolescents and Young Adults Receiving Cancer Treatment

    Primary Investigator: Robert Knoerl, PhD, RN

    Adolescents and young adults (AYAs) (15 – 39 years old) with cancer experience significant anxiety and stress due to disruptions in age-related developmental tasks such as education/career plans, autonomy from parents, and family planning. However, little is known regarding optimal interventions to support the psychosocial needs of AYAs during cancer treatment. The long-term goal of this research is to decrease suffering in AYAs with cancer by addressing the critical need for integrative interventions to support the psychosocial needs of AYAs during cancer treatment.


    Enabling Clinical Decision Support for Guideline-Based Cancer Symptom Management

    Primary Investigator: Mary Cooley, PhD, CRNP, FAAN (Site PI)

    The objective of this contract is to develop an EMR-integrated software product that uses national clinical practice guidelines in decision support for clinicians to manage cancer symptoms. We will convene multidisciplinary panels of clinician experts to develop computable algorithms for cancer-related fatigue and constipation; conduct formative usability testing with clinicians and patients using screen prototypes; and determine the software requirements to deliver decision support at the point of care. Dr. Cooley and her collaborators at Dana-Farber and Partners Health Care are the research institution partners in this SBIR with medical informatics colleagues led by Dr. David Lobach of Klesis, LLC, as the business partner.


    Implementing a Systems-Level Tobacco Treatment Intervention into a Thoracic Oncology Program

    Principal Investigator: Mary Cooley, PhD, RN, FAAN

    This research initiative creates opportunities for investigators from various disciplines to collaborate across disease programs with the Dana-Farber Harvard Cancer Center. The aims for this project are to adapt and implement a systems-level tobacco treatment intervention within the Lung Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, compare the effectiveness of the systems-level tobacco treatment intervention with usual care, and create a population-based tobacco use database that can be integrated with a biological database for future studies.


    Patient Reported Outcomes in Individuals Living with Familial Pancreatic Cancer

    Principal Investigator: Meghan Underhill, PhD, APRN, AOCNS

    Though it is known that identifying pancreatic cancer at an earlier stage can lead to improved surgical treatment outcomes, no standard of care exists to guide clinicians with surveillance or prevention. The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program is testing mechanisms to identify and screen individuals at high risk for pancreatic cancer. This is a cross-sectional survey study aimed at describing participant outcomes and the relationships between demographic and personal factors (age, gender, family history, cancer risk perception, cancer worry, PROMIS Social Support scale) and psychosocial outcome measure scores (PROMIS Global Health and Health Belief Model, and Impact of Event scales) and engagement in self-care or wellness behaviors (i.e., yoga, meditation, mindfulness, acupuncture, massage, psychotherapy, support group attendance, healthy lifestyle choices, and engaging in cancer screening).


    Evaluating a Clinician Support Algorithm to Enhance Implementation of Evidence-Based Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy Assessment and Management Recommendations

    Principal Investigator: Robert Knoerl, PhD, RN

    The purpose of this study is to test the efficacy of a CIPN assessment and management algorithm to promote the implementation of evidence-based CIPN assessment and management recommendations in clinicians caring for patients receiving neurotoxic chemotherapy. This study employs a prospective, two-phase, pre/post-test design. Clinician documentation of CIPN assessment and management will be compared between the two study phases. The long-term goal of this research is to decrease patient suffering by addressing the critical need for improved clinical systems to facilitate increased CIPN assessment and management in practice.