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Survivor Wellness Research

Our Survivor Wellness researchers are investigating ways to support pediatric cancer patients and their families as they move through the process of recovery, and for the rest of their lives. 

Fertility Preservation

Dr. Jennifer Levine is currently the principal investigator of an international study run by the Children’s Oncology Group to explore fertility preservation for survivors of childhood cancer.  She is currently studying surrogate markers of ovarian reserve in patients with lymphoma as well as the effectiveness of egg and embryo freezing after cancer therapy in collaboration with Reproductive Endocrinology at CUMC.  (Jenn: Do you have any visuals of frozen embryo?)

In 2014, Dr. Levine published Evidence-Based Recommendations for Fertility Preservation Options for Inclusion in Treatment Protocols for Pediatric and Adolescent Patients Diagnosed With Cancer.  As survival rates improve for pediatric cancers, increased attention has been paid to late effects of cancer therapy, in particular, infertility. Fertility preservation options are available for pre- and postpubertal cancer patients. However, many providers lack knowledge regarding options. The aim of this article was to provide a comprehensive synthesis of current evidence and recommendations regarding fertility preservation options for children, adolescents, and young adults undergoing cancer treatment. Fifty-three studies and 4 clinical guidelines were used for the review. The treatment team should be knowledgeable about fertility preservation so that they can educate patients and families about available fertility preservation options. It is important to consider and discuss all available these options with patients at the time of diagnosis.

Clinical Trials

  • Childrens Oncology Group: ALTE11C1, Longitudinal Assessment of Ovarian Reserve in Adolescents with Lymphoma. Currently enrolling newly diagnosed female lymphoma patients up to 29 years old.
  • Columbia study for controls: Assessment of Ovarian Reserve in Healthy Adolescents. Currently enrolling healthy female controls up to 32 to years old.

Narrative Medicine

The Survivor Wellness Program is also spearheading a research project in the realm of narrative medicine that will explore how families talk about a child’s diagnosis and every step of the cancer treatment.  The goal is to document the experience of survivors, over time, and to better understand how families cope.