Gita Thanarajasingam, M.D., is a hematologist at Mayo Clinic who specializes in the care of patients with Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Dr. Thanarajasingam is also a translational health outcomes researcher. Her patient-centered research focuses on improving the evaluation of adverse events (AEs) of cancer treatment and understanding cancer treatment tolerability from the patient perspective. This includes implementing patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in cancer clinical trials to better understand how patients feel and function on and after cancer therapy. As a disease-specific expert, Dr. Thanarajasingam is involved in numerous clinical trials and outcomes studies of patients with Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
- Displaying toxicity data in a more comprehensive and precise way that reflects the time profile of adverse events of cancer treatment. Dr. Thanarajasingam developed the Toxicity over Time (ToxT) approach, a longitudinal patient-focused approach to AE evaluation that better captures not only the incidence and severity of AEs, but when they will occur, how long they will last and when they might improve.
- Using PROs and technology to more accurately and efficiently capture AE and cancer treatment tolerability data directly from patients. Dr. Thanarajasingam is the principal investigator on a multisite clinical trial in collaboration with Yale University and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The trial studies physical function in patients with cancer who are receiving chemotherapy and uses clinician-reported information, the patient's own reports of physical function, an objective metric (six-minute walk test) and wearable device data.
- Harnessing information about AEs and treatment tolerability to guide education materials for patients and symptom control in cancer clinical trials and in routine clinical practice. Dr. Thanarajasingam is part of a National Cancer Institute U01 tolerability consortium. This consortium is focused on developing clinically useful representation of adverse events and tolerability data to convey more accurate information about a patient's cancer treatment experience to patients and their physicians in real-world practice.
- Lymphoma outcomes research. Dr. Thanarajasingam cares for patients with all types of lymphoma. She has been involved in lymphoma outcomes research and has authored several papers on the biology, clinical features and outcomes of Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas as a lymphoma specialist. She is involved in the large portfolio of clinical trials available at Mayo Clinic that study new treatments for patients with lymphoma.
Significance to patient care
Adverse events of treatment impact almost every patient with cancer. The current standard for evaluation of adverse events of cancer therapy tabulates how often severe AEs happen. However, cancer treatment now includes newer agents, such as orally administered targeted drugs or immune therapies, that may be taken over time. The time profile and burden of less severe but long-lasting AEs is increasingly relevant to the patient experience. In addition, traditional approaches to reporting AEs don't incorporate the direct perspective of the patient, without which tolerability of treatment can't be accurately assessed.
There is an unmet need to improve how health care providers evaluate and communicate information on treatment tolerability to patients. Dr. Thanarajasingam's research endeavors to improve the accuracy and patient-centeredness of adverse event evaluation and to better capture treatment tolerability from the lens of the patient.
- Faculty mentor, Lymphoma Research Foundation Clinical Mentoring Program, 2022
- Member, National Clinical Trials Network Adolescent and Young Adult Patient-Reported Outcomes Task Force, 2021-present
- Principal investigator, The In4M Study: Integrating 4 Measures to Assess Physical Function in Cancer Patients, Yale University and Mayo Clinic, 2020-present
- The Lancet Haematology
- Member, international editorial board, 2019-present
- Lead commissioner, Commission on Adverse Events, 2015-present
- Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology
- Vice co-chair, Health Outcomes Committee, 2018-present
- Member, Lymphoma Committee, 2017-present
- Co-investigator, National Cancer Institute Moonshot Tolerability U01 Consortium, 2018-present
- Special government employee, Oncology Drug Advisory Committee ad hoc member, Food and Drug Administration, 2016-present