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BCRF Grantee Since

2004

Donor Recognition

The ANN INC. Award

Area(s) of Focus

Kala Visvanathan, MB, BS, FRACP, MHS

Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Oncology
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Baltimore, Maryland

Current Research

Dr. Visvanathan and colleagues continue to make progress on a number of studies related to high-risk women. In 2013-2014, they will continue to evaluate differences in immune response pathways in both healthy high-risk women and breast cancer survivors. They have also presented data at ASCO Annual Meeting in 2013 on their recently completed pilot study evaluating the short term effects of the removal of the ovaries on multiple health outcomes (such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, body measurement changes and weight gain). Dr. Visvanathan’s team is in the process of analyzing this data and expects to publish in the upcoming months. Funding from BCRF has been critical to generating this novel, exciting and clinically relevant data and in obtaining further funding.

Mid-Year Summary

Dr. Visvanathan and colleagues continue to make progress and evaluate differences in immune response pathways in both healthy high-risk women and breast cancer survivors. Through their ability to continue the collection of follow-up data on individuals in their high risk cohort (cancer-free and survivors), the researchers are examining whether survivors are more likely to develop specific inflammatory related co-morbid diseases (i.e. hypertension, arthritis, osteoporosis, etc), and also examine if the co-morbid conditions are mediated by post treatment immune responses and look to see what impact the use of anti-inflammatory agents and other related agents may contribute to disease outcome and immune response.

Bio

Dr. Visvanathan received her medical degree from the University of Sydney in Australia in 1989. She subsequently went on to complete her training in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology including a period as Chief Resident at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, a teaching hospital of the University of Sydney in Australia. She received her Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology in 1996.

Since then she has obtained a Masters in Clinical/Cancer epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and done further retraining in Oncology at Johns Hopkins in the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr Visvanathan joined the faculty in Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2002, and the faculty in Medical Oncology, at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins, in 2003. She is also a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Association for Cancer Research.

Trained as a medical oncologist and cancer epidemiologist, Dr Visvanathan's primary research interest is in the prevention and control of breast cancer. In particular, her focus is on the evaluation of novel genetic, molecular, and dietary biomarkers of risk and early detection in breast cancer, with an aim to modify those factors in the causal pathway with effective chemoprevention strategies.