Maria Alice Franzoi, MD
Medical Oncologist/Researcher, Breast Cancer Survivorship Group
Conquer Cancer, The ASCO Foundation
Institut Gustave Roussy
Improving breast cancer survivors’ quality of life.
Fifty percent of breast cancer patients suffer from at least one persistent and severe symptom, 30 percent face emotional or social difficulties, and over 20 percent struggle to return to work after diagnosis. The follow-up and treatment of survivors of breast cancer could be improved by: 1) personalizing care plans that consider a patient’s long-term quality of life and independence ; 2) increasing patient empowerment, so that patients have greater control over decisions affecting their health; and 3) using digital technology to reach and deliver self-management strategies and information to patients. For her Conquer Cancer Advanced Clinical Research Award supported by BCRF, Dr. Franzoi aims to address these challenges with the help of digital technology and a more efficient use of healthcare resources.
Dr. Franzoi will employ mathematical models to predict which patients are at risk of a diminished quality of life after treatment and which patients are capable of self-management. This will help healthcare teams create individualized care plans to ensure a better quality of life for every patient. She will also test the feasibility of a mobile application in delivering a personalized care plan by measuring acceptability, interest, and usage of this mobile application in patients participating in a clinical trial. With the knowledge generated by this work Dr. Franzoi hopes to test the application in a large clinical trial.
Maria-Alice Franzoi, MD is a Latin American medical oncologist focused on the care of breast cancer. She received her medical degree in her native Brazil, at the University of the South of Santa Catarina. She completed her residencies in Internal Medicine and Oncology in Porto Alegre, Brazil, before completing a clinical research fellowship at the Jules Bordet Institute in Belgium, under the mentorship of Professor Martine Piccart and Dr. Evandro de Azambuja. Dr. Franzoi is a past Conquer Cancer International Development Award (IDEA) recipient.
She is currently a faculty member of the Breast Cancer Survivorship Group at Gustave Roussy where she leads the development of a clinical research program aiming to use digital health to achieve personalized care pathways targeting high-quality care and quality of life improvement for survivors of breast cancer. The importance of this work relies on the fact that over 50 percent of patients suffer from at least one severe post-treatment symptom and there is suboptimal management of long-term toxicities after breast cancer. Her project under the mentorship of Dr. Ines Vaz-Luis aims to advance personalized survivorship care through i) patient stratification, building on the individualized risk of post-treatment toxicities and medical complexity, and ii) deployment of scalable behavioral strategies for symptom management, leveraging patient empowerment and technology. This project will integrate analyses of psychological and behavior, biological data, and the use of digital technologies, and it will design a clinical trial to validate and refine a prototype survivorship care pathway facilitated by digital technology, which should be ready for wider clinical deployment afterward. Members from distinct countries, including low-middle income countries will be part of the mentoring & advisory committee to avoid building a care model not realistic for implementation in lower resource settings or other cultures.
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