Survivorship: Improving Mind and Physical Activity (IMPACT)

IHPR researchers Drs. Amelie Ramirez and Daniel Carlos Hughes are leading a randomized controlled trial of exercise in breast cancer survivors. The study’s underlying hypothesis is investigating which type of exercise program best improves survivor’s exercise adherence, fitness outcomes, stress (self-report and salivary cortisol), and reduce inflammation and obesity biomarkers (cytokines). Breast cancer survivors are randomized to a comprehensive exercise intervention group (n=30), yoga exercise group (n=30) or general-exercise control group (n=30). This project also includes an innovative feasibility study to measure circulating levels of multi-potent adipose stromal cells (ASCs). Recently published data indicate that abundance of circulating ASCs is associated with obesity and breast cancer. To test the distinct possibility that increased number of circulating ASCs due to excessive adiposity may produce more cytokines and thus aid in cancer progression and dissemination of tumor cells to distant organ sites, this project will carry out a feasibility study by measuring the number of circulating ASCs in obese breast cancer patients. Upon establishing the proof-of-principle, the project team will further examine the impact of regular exercise and/or yoga on the number of circulating ASCs. The ultimate goal is to explore the utility of circulating ASCs as a biomarker for disease prognosis and for measuring efficacy of approaches to increase survival and reduce disease recurrence. Results will provide formative data for a large-scale R01 breast cancer prevention randomized trial to be conducted in the Lower Rio Grande Valley with Latina women. This future study will further investigate the effects of adopting an exercise program on biological markers (obesity, inflammatory markers) that predict breast cancer risk. Also, project team members have initiated collaboration with another UT Health San Antonio group to conduct a genome-wide study of circulating ASCs from breast cancer survivors.

Principle Investigators

Amelie Ramirez, IHPR at UT Health San Antonio


Sagar Ghosh, UT Health San Antonio Tim Huang, UT Health San Antonio


News Release 7/25/11: Study Results: