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Nancy E. Davidson, MD
President & Executive Director, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Senior Vice President, Director,
and Full Member, Clinical Research Division,
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Head, Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology,
University of Washington
Chair, BCRF Scientific Advisory Board
Goal: To develop a cost-effective lifestyle intervention for breast cancer survivors.
Impact: Dr. Davidson is conducting studies that will inform the development of an effective nutrition and exercise program that would reduce the risk of recurrence and improve survival in women who have undergone treatment for breast cancer.
What’s next: She and her team will test the feasibility and effects of two variations of a program that provides participants with both in-person support and electronic health (eHealth) communication.
Cancer survivors are advised to consume five daily servings of fruits and vegetables and engage in 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week to reduce recurrence risk and improve survival. However, there is little data available that can be used to develop behavioral interventions that would help survivors develop and adhere to these habits. Dr. Davidson is testing programs that provide this support to determine which is more effective.
Full Research Summary
Research area: Improving breast cancer outcomes through healthy living interventions.
Impact: Breast cancer deaths have declined 40 percent since their peak thirty years ago, resulting in the largest cancer survivorship group in the U.S. In spite of this trend, approximately 25 percent of patients diagnosed with early stage breast cancer will have a recurrence, sometimes many years after treatment has ended. This pilot study will provide critical preliminary data to support the rational for a large trial testing the long-term effectiveness of a scalable and cost-effective lifestyle program for breast cancer survivors, which could serve as a new model for supportive oncology care.
Current investigation: Dr. Davidson is conducting a pilot study to test a behavioral intervention that would help breast cancer survivors consume five daily servings of fruit and vegetables and engage in 150 minutes a week of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. They will test the feasibility and effects of the six-month intervention on changes in fruit/vegetable consumption and physical activity, as well as blood biomarkers of systemic inflammation and gut microbiome health.
Dr. Davidson is a world-renowned breast cancer researcher who serves as Senior Vice President and Director of the Clinical Research Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, President and Executive Director of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, and Head of the Division of Medical Oncology at the University of Washington.
Dr. Davidson has published key findings on the role of hormones, particularly estrogen, on gene expression and cell growth in breast cancer. She has guided several important national clinical trials of new therapies for breast cancer, including chemo-endocrine therapy for premenopausal breast cancer. Her research has been supported by a portfolio of funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Defense, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She has authored over 350 articles in the top journals of her field.
An elected member of the Association of American Physicians and the National Academy of Medicine, Dr. Davidson is an active member of the scientific advisory boards as well as external advisory boards of many foundations and cancer centers. She has also served as an elected member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) - the two largest organizations for cancer researchers and oncology professionals in the world. She was President of ASCO from 2007 to 2008 and President of AACR from 2016 to 2017.
Dr. Davidson earned her MD degree from Harvard Medical School and completed her internal medicine internship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and internal medicine residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Subsequently, Dr. Davidson completed a medical oncology fellowship at the NIH’s National Cancer Institute. She was a faculty member in the Department of Oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine from 1986 to 2009, serving as Director of the Breast Cancer Program from 1994 to 2009 and as the Breast Cancer Research Chair of Oncology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine from 1995 – 2009. From 2009-2016 she served as Hillman Professor of Medicine and associate vice chancellor for cancer research at the University of Pittsburgh and Director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.