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Researcher Spotlight: Niloufer Khan, MD

Health Equity Initiative

Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) is a chronic form of cancer that causes pain, discomfort, and itchiness that can affect patients’ well-being and quality of life. “Itch is a common symptom for patients with CTCL, but it has a complex pathogenesis and can be challenging to treat,” explains Dr. Khan. Through her research, she hopes to determine how itch can be better characterized in the clinic to support patients and understand how it affects their overall well-being. “We will also study whether integrative and supportive care interventions like mindfulness-based therapy can help patients,” she says. “This is a way for patients to become more aware
of thoughts, feelings, and sensations in a non-judgmental way. Our hope is that this will help patients with CTCL better manage their itch and anxiety.”

Dr. Khan’s interest in medicine was sparked at a young age by her mother, who was a pediatrician. She earned her medical degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Ohio and completed a residency in pediatrics before pursuing a fellowship in hematology/ oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. She is now an assistant professor of medicine in the Lymphoma Division at City of Hope (California), where she is focused on understanding patient-reported outcomes in CTCL care. “I have always been interested in health-related quality of life and treatment-related toxicities,” she says. “After rotating in clinics as a fellow with my mentors at MSK, I realized that patients with CTCL have unique and profound unmet needs in terms of improving their quality of life.”

With the support of the Lymphoma Research Foundation, Dr. Khan hopes to establish herself as a leading expert in translational health outcomes research. “My patients always inspire me to ask more questions and identify ways to improve their health and well-being,” she says. “I hope my work will focus on identifying symptoms with the greatest impact on patient quality of life, designing effective symptom-based interventions to answer those questions, and facilitating the implementation and uptake of those interventions.”

Dr. Kahn was also a 2021 Scholar through the Lymphoma Scientific Research Mentoring Program.

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