Research Summary

As Director of the Global Cancer Program at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, I oversee UCSF’s portfolio of research and capacity-building projects in low and middle-income countries as well as educational programs for training in global oncology. My research interest focuses on the epidemiology of gastrointestinal cancers both in the United States and globally, with the aim to improve clinical outcomes and reduce disparities. In collaboration with Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences and Ocean Road Cancer Institute in Tanzania, I am the Principal Investigator of studies to evaluate the etiology of the disproportionately high burden of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in East Africa. I am the Principal Investigator of a D43 award that is building the first-ever cancer research training program in Tanzania. I am also actively engaged in research on the increasing burden of early-onset colorectal cancer in the United States and the disproportionate impact of this disease on black and Latinx communities. I have partnered with the Instituto Nacional de Cancerología (National Cancer Institute) and Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública (National Institute of Public Health) in Mexico to develop a collaborative research program to evaluate the changing epidemiology of colorectal cancer in Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. In all collaborations, I aim to support the career development of early career investigators with interests in global cancer control.

Research Funding

  • August 15, 2020 - May 31, 2025 - Building a Cancer Research Training Program in Tanzania, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: D43TW011598
  • August 15, 2020 - May 31, 2025 - Building a Cancer Research Training Program in Tanzania, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: D43TW011598
  • August 15, 2020 - May 31, 2025 - Building a Cancer Research Training Program in Tanzania, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: D43TW011598
  • August 15, 2020 - May 31, 2025 - Building a Cancer Research Training Program in Tanzania, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: D43TW011598

Education

Duke University    B.S.    05/00    Biology
Yale University    M.P.H.    05/02    Health Policy
Medical College of Georgia    M.D.    05/06    Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess, Harvard Medical School    Intern    06/07    Internal Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess, Harvard Medical School    Resident    06/09    Internal Medicine
University of California, San Francisco    Fellow    06/12    Oncology

Honors & Awards

  • 2018
    Hematology/Oncology Marc A. Shuman Mentoring Award, UCSF
  • 2017
    2017-2018 Short-Term Mentor Award, Pathways to Discovery, UCSF School of Medicine
  • 2016
    The Ernest H. Rosenbaum, MD Commitment to Patient Care Award, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • 2013
    NANETS Clinical Investigator Scholarship
  • 2013
    AHRQ K12 PARTNERS Program Scholar
  • 2012
    Young Investigator Award, ASCO Conquer Cancer Foundation
  • 2008
    Yale/Johnson & Johnson Physician Scholar in International Health, South Africa
  • 2008
    Nomination by Harvard Medical School Class of 2008 for Excellence in Teaching
  • 2002
    Dean’s Prize for Outstanding MPH Thesis, Yale University
  • 2001
    Weinerman Fellowship for Social Justice, Yale University
  • 2000
    Graduation with Distinction in Biology, Duke University
  • 2000
    Howard Hughes Undergraduate Fellowship in Neuroscience, Duke University

Selected Publications

  1. Kimambo AH, Vuhahula EA, Mwakigonja AR, Ljung BM, Zhang L, Van Loon K, Ng DL. Evaluating Estrogen Receptor Immunohistochemistry on Cell Blocks From Breast Cancer Patients in a Low-Resource Setting. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2021 07 01; 145(7):834-841.  View on PubMed
  2. Nyagabona SK, Luhar R, Ndumbalo J, Mvungi N, Ngoma M, Meena S, Siu S, Said M, Mwaiselage J, Tarimo E, Buckle G, Selekwa M, Mushi B, Mmbaga EJ, Van Loon K, DeBoer RJ. Views from Multidisciplinary Oncology Clinicians on Strengthening Cancer Care Delivery Systems in Tanzania. Oncologist. 2021 07; 26(7):e1197-e1204.  View on PubMed
  3. Keenan BP, VAN Loon K, Khilnani AD, Fidelman N, Behr SC, Atreya CE, Oh DY. Molecular and Radiological Features of Microsatellite Stable Colorectal Cancer Cases With Dramatic Responses to Immunotherapy. Anticancer Res. 2021 Jun; 41(6):2985-2992.  View on PubMed
  4. Keenan B, Jagsi R, Van Loon K. Pragmatic Solutions to Counteract the Regressive Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic for Women in Academic Oncology. JAMA Oncol. 2021 06 01; 7(6):825-826.  View on PubMed
  5. DeBoer RJ, Mutoniwase E, Nguyen C, Ho A, Umutesi G, Nkusi E, Sebahungu F, Van Loon K, Shulman LN, Shyirambere C. Moral Distress and Resilience Associated with Cancer Care Priority Setting in a Resource-Limited Context. Oncologist. 2021 07; 26(7):e1189-e1196.  View on PubMed
  6. Nyagabona SK, Mushi BP, Philipo GS, Haddadi S, Kadhim EK, Breithaupt L, Mwaiselage J, Balandya E, Leyna GH, Van Loon K, Mmbaga EJ. A mixed methods needs assessment and gap analysis for establishment of a cancer research training program in East Africa. Journal of Global Health Reports. 2021; 5.  View on PubMed
  7. Miaskowski C, Paul SM, Snowberg K, Abbott M, Borno HT, Chang SM, Chen LM, Cohen B, Cooper BA, Hammer MJ, Kenfield SA, Kober KM, Laffan A, Levine JD, Pozzar R, Rhoads K, Tsai KK, Van Blarigan EL, Van Loon K. Loneliness and symptom burden in oncology patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cancer. 2021 09 01; 127(17):3246-3253.  View on PubMed
  8. Chan H, Zhang L, Choti MA, Kulke M, Yao JC, Nakakura EK, Bloomston M, Benson AB, Shah MH, Strosberg JR, Bergsland EK, Van Loon K. Recurrence Patterns After Surgical Resection of Gastroenteropancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors: Analysis From the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Oncology Outcomes Database. Pancreas. 2021 04 01; 50(4):506-512.  View on PubMed
  9. Susko MS, Lazar AA, Wang CJ, Van Loon K, Feng M, Hope TA, Behr S, Anwar M. Use of advanced PET-volume metrics predicts risk of local recurrence and overall survival in anal cancer. PLoS One. 2021; 16(2):e0246535.  View on PubMed
  10. Philipo GS, Vuhahula E, Kimambo A, Mmbaga EJ, Van Loon K, Ng DL. Feasibility of Fine-Needle Aspiration Biopsy and Rapid On-Site Evaluation for Immediate Triage in Breast Cancer Screening in Tanzania. JCO Glob Oncol. 2021 01; 7:146-152.  View on PubMed
  11. Mushi BP, Mwachiro MM, Buckle G, Kaimila BN, Mulima G, Kayamba V, Kelly P, Akoko L, Mmbaga EJ, Selekwa M, Ringo Y, Pritchett N, White RE, Topazian MD, Fleischer DE, Dawsey SM, Van Loon K. Improving Access to Self-Expanding Metal Stents for Patients With Esophageal Cancer in Eastern Africa: A Stepwise Implementation Strategy. JCO Glob Oncol. 2021 01; 7:118-126.  View on PubMed
  12. Blanchard C, Lubuzo B, Asirwa FC, Dlamini X, Msadabwe-Chikuni SC, Mwachiro M, Shyirambere C, Ruhangaza D, Milner DA, Van Loon K, DeBoer R, Mtshali P, Dugan U, Baker E, Shulman LN. Multisector Collaborations and Global Oncology: The Only Way Forward. JCO Glob Oncol. 2021 01; 7:153-161.  View on PubMed
  13. Mmbaga EJ, Mushi BP, Deardorff K, Mgisha W, Akoko LO, Paciorek A, Hiatt RA, Buckle GC, Mwaiselage J, Zhang L, Van Loon K. A Case-Control Study to Evaluate Environmental and Lifestyle Risk Factors for Esophageal Cancer in Tanzania. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2021 02; 30(2):305-316.  View on PubMed
  14. Buckle GC, Mahapatra R, Mwachiro M, Akoko L, Mmbaga EJ, White RE, Bent S, Van Loon K. Optimal management of esophageal cancer in Africa: A systemic review of treatment strategies. Int J Cancer. 2021 03 01; 148(5):1115-1131.  View on PubMed
  15. Van Blarigan EL, Zhang S, Ou FS, Venlo A, Ng K, Atreya C, Van Loon K, Niedzwiecki D, Giovannucci E, Wolfe EG, Lenz HJ, Innocenti F, O'Neil BH, Shaw JE, Polite BN, Hochster HS, Atkins JN, Goldberg RM, Mayer RJ, Blanke CD, O'Reilly EM, Fuchs CS, Meyerhardt JA. Association of Diet Quality With Survival Among People With Metastatic Colorectal Cancer in the Cancer and Leukemia B and Southwest Oncology Group 80405 Trial. JAMA Netw Open. 2020 10 01; 3(10):e2023500.  View on PubMed
  16. Miaskowski C, Paul SM, Snowberg K, Abbott M, Borno H, Chang S, Chen LM, Cohen B, Hammer MJ, Kenfield SA, Kober KM, Levine JD, Pozzar R, Rhoads KF, Van Blarigan EL, Van Loon K. Stress and Symptom Burden in Oncology Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2020 Nov; 60(5):e25-e34.  View on PubMed
  17. DeBoer RJ, Fadelu TA, Shulman LN, Van Loon K. Applying Lessons Learned From Low-Resource Settings to Prioritize Cancer Care in a Pandemic. JAMA Oncol. 2020 09 01; 6(9):1429-1433.  View on PubMed
  18. Silverstein J, Post AL, Chien AJ, Olin R, Tsai KK, Ngo Z, Van Loon K. Multidisciplinary Management of Cancer During Pregnancy. JCO Oncol Pract. 2020 09; 16(9):545-557.  View on PubMed
  19. Miaskowski C, Paul SM, Snowberg K, Abbott M, Borno H, Chang S, Chen LM, Cohen B, Cooper BA, Hammer MJ, Kenfield SA, Laffan A, Levine JD, Pozzar R, Tsai KK, Van Blarigan EL, Van Loon K. Oncology patients' perceptions of and experiences with COVID-19. Support Care Cancer. 2021 Apr; 29(4):1941-1950.  View on PubMed
  20. Enzinger AC, Uno H, McCleary N, Frank E, Sanoff H, Van Loon K, Matin K, Bullock A, Cronin C, Bagley J, Schrag D. The Effect of Disclosing Life Expectancy Information on Patients' Prognostic Understanding: Secondary Outcomes From a Multicenter Randomized Trial of a Palliative Chemotherapy Educational Intervention. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2021 01; 61(1):1-11.e3.  View on PubMed

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