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Collaboration to improve swallowing treatment for cancer patients

Stephanie Knollhoff portrait

July 6, 2021

By Kelsey Pritchett

Stephanie Knollhoff, assistant professor in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, recently received a University of Missouri Research Council Grant to investigate a swallowing rehabilitation technique in individuals with cancer. This project explores an alternative approach to swallowing treatment for individuals undergoing radiation treatment for head and neck cancer.

Dr. Knollhoff and her co-investigators, Laura Dooley and Gregory Biedermann at the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, are striving to carefully construct protocols that balance the individual burden and pain during oncologic treatment with improved participation in therapy to obtain best swallowing outcomes. The University of Missouri is forging ahead with research targeted to treat cancer through its Next Gen Precision Health Initiative, and this project is aligned well with that aim.

“I hope this is the first of many collaborations,” Dr. Knollhoff said. “Our team is investigating an area that is critical to health and quality of life, yet substantially understudied. Our methods have the potential for use by a wide range of people, which is exactly what the individuals we serve need.”