Symptom Science Research

A man sits at the kitchen table. He has no appetite and is not interested in the food in front of him.
Uncontrolled symptoms like loss of appetite and weight (cachexia) can make daily activities difficult for people living with cancer.

Symptoms such as pain, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, numbness, tingling and weight loss (cachexia) can burden patients and their caregivers. The symptoms are sometimes so intense that they impact cancer treatment.

What is symptom science?

Symptom science is a clinical research program focused on minimizing treatment-related toxicity and improving the quality of life of people with cancer. This research includes discovery, validation and promotion of better ways to control symptoms. The hallmarks of this field are rigorous, evidence-based research and collaboration among patients, caregivers, clinicians and scientists. This leads to better outcomes and makes a profound difference to patients’ lives.

Symptom science research at OHSU

OHSU’s Symptom Science Research Group focuses on finding ways to help patients cope with cancer and treatment-related symptoms.

We’re a multidisciplinary group of researchers from oncology, palliative care, basic science, nursing, nutrition and rehabilitation based at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. We seek to:

  • Better understand the pathophysiology of symptoms.
  • Identify biomarkers that predict toxicity.
  • Improve the lives of people with cancer.

We conduct clinical investigations on distressing symptoms and toxicities for a wide range of cancer types. Our trials include both investigator-initiated studies and partnerships with industry.


Our group has published more than 100 research papers.

Clinical trials

We are conducting several clinical trials on symptom science.

Principal investigators

Research team members

  • Jordanne Bennett
  • Jason Frantz
  • Tanja Glujic-White
  • Lauren Hayashi
  • Sonali Joshi, Ph.D.
  • Paula Cisternas Labadzinzki
  • Josephine Lopez
  • Takumi Suzuki

Contact us

Refer a patient

To refer a patient for a clinical trial, you can:

Symptom science eases burden of cancer

A man with cancer gets a checkup. He sists on an exam table. A physician assistant stands next to him.

Neuropathy almost made Clifford Alexander quit fly-fishing.
“I couldn’t feel the fine threads,” he says. OHSU researchers are working on
better ways to control cancer symptoms.