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ASU Faculty, Mayo Awarded $3.1M for Joint Efforts Regarding Cancer Survivorship

Ruben A. Mesa

An important milestone has been reached with joint efforts between Mayo Clinic and ASU regarding Cancer Survivorship. Specifically, a major RO1 National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute research grant was awarded to a project entitled, "Effects of Meditative Movement (Qigong/Tai Chi Easy) on Fatigued Breast Cancer Survivors" led by Arizona State University’s Linda Larkey, PhD, a professor in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation and a Mayo Clinic research affiliate, in partnership with Don Northfelt, MD (Mayo Clinic), and Karen Anderson, MD (joint ASU-Mayo Clinic). Additional co-investigators are Barbara Ainsworth, PhD (ASU), Jen Huberty, PhD (ASU), and Darya Bonds, PhD (ASU), and Lisa Smith, PhD (ASU), Karen Weihs, MD (U of A), and Ian Komenaka, MD (MIHS). 

This $3.1 million, five-year award will support an ASU collaboration with the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and Maricopa Integrated Health Systems Breast Clinic to examine effects of the Qigong/Tai Chi Easy practice on breast cancer survivor symptoms. Qigong and Tai Chi are ancient Chinese wellness practices that incorporate gentle exercise with a focus on the breath and a meditative state. The study will compare this meditative movement practice to a gentle exercise (sham Qigong) intervention, and to an educational control group to learn about how it impacts quality of life for women who have completed treatment, but are still experiencing symptoms, including fatigue, sleep disruption, emotional distress, cognitive dysfunction, and peripheral neuropathy. To better understand the ways in which Qigong/Tai Chi Easy may improve symptoms, blood tests of biomarkers of stress and inflammation will be examined before and after women participate in 12 weeks of intervention (or control). 

The study is expected to be open and enrolling patients by November 2015. Several additional joint grant projects have been submitted, or are in preparation between the Mayo Clinic and multi-disciplinary ASU team including the College of Nursing & Health Innovation, School of Health Solutions, and the Biodesign Institute. These efforts will be a key area of focus for the Cancer Patient Supportive and Survivorship Care Program – a central theme in the new Integrated Cancer Center opening in 2016 on the Mayo Clinic Phoenix campus. Congratulations again to Dr. Linda Larkey for pioneering and leading these efforts!