Grantee: Patricia A. Ganz

Patricia A. Ganz

Patricia A. Ganz, MD

  • University of California - Los Angeles

Dr. Ganz is a medical oncologist who has been taking care of patients with cancer for over thirty years. She has focused her research on the impact of cancer and its treatments on patients' lives, translating what she has heard in the clinic to her research program. She has examined the psychosocial, physical, and behavioral outcomes experienced by cancer patients and survivors in cohort studies, and also has conducted intervention research to improve these outcomes.

During the past decade, Dr. Ganz's work has increasingly focused on understanding the biological mechanisms underpinning the late effects of cancer treatment, with her current work focused on improving our understanding of cognitive dysfunction in breast cancer survivors. This research is extremely important given the high rates of long-term survival in women who are diagnosed with breast cancer and the burden of persistent symptoms, such as cognitive problems, which may take them out of the work force and impair their ability to function at the same level as before their cancer diagnosis and treatment.

In the current R01, Dr. Ganz has found a link between higher levels of TNFα and post-treatment fatigue and cognitive complaints, which is strongly associated with neuropsychological test performance (in memory and executive functioning), along with concomitant focal abnormalities in cerebral metabolism on brain imaging. The convergence of these findings, the biological with the subjective complaints of patients, provides an explanatory mechanism, as well as support, for the subjective complaints of the patients. This novel finding was made possible by the transdisciplinary collaborative research supported through the project grant.

I think our recent work finding biological support for the subjective complaints that cancer survivors experience has been most important in persuading skeptics who doubt the validity of patient-reported psychological and behavioral complaints.”

Selected Grants