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Researcher Spotlight: P. Connor Johnson, MD

Massachusetts General Hospital

Older adults with fast-growing lymphomas are often treated with chemotherapy which has the potential to cure some of these diseases. However, understanding which patients
will have serious side effects, complications, and loss of their quality of life is very important. This information is critical for making decisions about treatment and tailoring the treatment to the patient. However, researchers lack enough data to understand which patients are the most likely to have impaired quality of life, serious side effects, and complications.

Dr. P. Connor Johnson’s LRF research project is a longitudinal research study to identify the patients who are likely to have these poor outcomes. “Patients in this study are followed over time, and we collect information about their quality of life, physical and psychological symptom burden, side effects, complications, and health care use.” Dr. Johnson says. Before treatment is started, Dr. Johnson and the team will obtain information using a self-reported screening test for older adults and measure muscle mass on CT scans to see if these factors can predict who will have poor outcomes with treatment. Dr. Johnson hypothesizes that the results of this work will help improve the care of older adults with fast-growing lymphomas. “We will use the information gained from this study to design a supportive care intervention to help patients tolerate treatment better with improved quality of life and reduced side effects and complications.” He states

Dr. Johnson developed a strong interest in lymphoma while in medical school through the influence of his mentors Dr. Jeremy Abramson and Dr. Areej El-Jawahri. Inspired by their clinical and research careers in lymphoma, Dr. Johnson became fascinated with the palliative and supportive care needs and mitigating the therapy toxicity of patients with lymphoma, patients receiving cellular therapy, and lymphoma survivors.

Presently an oncologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Lymphoma, Dr. Johnson aims to conduct practice-changing clinical research trials focused on addressing the palliative
and supportive care needs and mitigating the therapy toxicity of patients with lymphoma, patients receiving cellular therapy, and lymphoma survivors. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to participate and have met countless mentors and peers who inspire me as a physician and researcher,” says Dr. Johnson. “I really cannot put into words how transformative the program is for my career and how it impacts research for patients with lymphoma.”

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