Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York
Associate Member and Attending Physician,
Breast Medicine Service
Developing a personalized intervention platform that matches patients with lifestyle modifications to improve breast cancer outcomes.
Lifestyle interventions including modifications to diet and exercise have been shown to improve physical function and quality of life and possibly reduce risk of breast cancer recurrence. However, most lifestyle interventions occur several years after diagnosis as part of a survivorship program, and considerable variability in individual needs and capacity limits the efficacy of traditional one-size-fits-all approaches. Dr. Iyengar has developed a digitized, multidisciplinary intervention care model called the Healthy Living Program that offers individualized lifestyle prescriptions beginning at the time of breast cancer diagnosis. The intervention includes online risk assessment tools, virtual education sessions, and telemedicine appointments with exercise physiologists, nutritionists, and nurse practitioners trained in lifestyle coaching who help patients transition seamlessly from cancer diagnosis to survivorship.
The researchers have enrolled 399 participants with newly diagnosed breast cancer in the Healthy Living Program and found that early enrollment in the program is acceptable to patients, as evidenced by an overall participation rate of 76 percent at diagnosis. He also identified several factors common among newly diagnosed patients, including sleep disturbances and lack of psychosocial support, that offer other opportunities for intervention at the time of diagnosis to improve outcomes and quality of life.
Dr. Iyengar’s next step will be to launch a clinical trial testing the addition of three digital therapeutic tools: an exercise app, an artificial intelligence-based platform that supplies personalized guidance on patient diet, and an app designed to promote sleep hygiene and optimize circadian rhythm. The Healthy Living Program will continue to build upon prior work and test the digitized interventions that offer individualized lifestyle prescriptions to improve breast cancer outcomes from diagnosis through survivorship.
Neil Iyengar, MD is a medical oncologist and clinical-translational researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). He is an Associate Member and Attending Physician in the Breast Medicine Service at MSKCC, Associate Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, and holds a joint research appointment as an Associate Attending Physician at the Rockefeller University Hospital. His research focuses on the implications of metabolic health and the development of lifestyle interventions (e.g., structured exercise, diet) as an anti-cancer strategy. His work has been supported by National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society grants as well as awards from several organizations including Career Development and Merit Awards from the ASCO Conquer Cancer Foundation and a Young Investigator Award from Expedition Inspiration Fund, and awards from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and the American Association for Cancer Research.
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