Scott Monfort recently published this work as part of a National Cancer Institute funded research study led by Ajit Chaudhari, PhD and Maryam Lustberg, MD. The article in Gait & Posture discusses results from 32 breast cancer patients that participated in the pilot study. The interdisciplinary team introduced balance measurements into the oncology clinic to quantify changes in patients’ balance as they progressed through taxane-based chemotherapy. As a group, patients’ balance worsened as they continued through their chemotherapy treatment. Significant changes from baseline values (before starting chemotherapy) were observed after 1 cycle of chemotherapy (2-3 weeks) that were similar in magnitude to the effect of 40 years of aging reported in another study. The results of this study support the feasibility and usefulness of implementing objective measures into the oncology clinic.
Scott was recently awarded an Alumni Grants for Graduate Research and Scholarship (AGGRS) grant from OSU’s Graduate School to partially fund his dissertation research on the effect of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) on the postural stability of cancer patients. This research investigates how neurotoxic chemotherapy can degrade balance and gait stability in cancer patients as well as the underlying mechanisms that contribute to this instability. The AGGRS funds will be used to help accrue patients into the study as well as to develop a quantitative test for deficits in ankle proprioception, a symptom of peripheral neuropathies, that can be easily administered in a clinical setting. This research is a step towards the long-term goal of reducing the burden that CIPN has on cancer survivors.