Dr. Shanafelt's clinical and scientific interests are focused on the treatment of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). CLL is the most common leukemia in adults and, although treatable, it is currently an incurable illness. Dr. Shanafelt's research on CLL spans the continuum from the laboratory to the clinic. He is currently the principle investigator on multiple clinical trials testing new treatments for patients with CLL as well as being involved in the design and conduct of CLL trials for the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group. His laboratory work involves identifying prognostic tools that help predict which CLL patients will experience a more aggressive disease course as well as research to identify new compounds for treating the disease. The mechanism of action of promising compounds are further explored in different micro-environments to evaluate in vivo modulators of drug induced killing/apoptosis. Promising candidate drugs are then taken in to phase I/II clinical trials for patients with CLL.
Dr. Shanafelt's other academic interest is physician well-being and its impact on patient care. He is the director of the Mayo Clinic Department of Medicine Program on Physician Well-being, a clinical laboratory evaluating personal and organizational factors that contribute to physician satisfaction. His research in this area has involved physicians at all stages of their career from medical school to practice had has include several multi-center and national studies. This research is intended to identify personal and organizational factors that can be modified in order to promote physician well-being and enhance the quality of care physicians deliver.
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