Nooshin Hashemi Sadraei, MD, an assistant professor in the division of hematology oncology in the department of internal medicine and a member of the UC Cancer Institute, completed her medical degree at Tehran University in Iran as well as her internship and residency in internal medicine at the State University of New York (SUNY), Stony Brook. Sadraei went on to complete her fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic which she says turned her into "a loyal Ohio resident.” After her fellowship, she stayed on as faculty there in the Taussig Cancer Institute, eventually joining the UC faculty this fall.
What made you come to UC?
"My husband had a job opportunity in Cincinnati about which he was very interested, so I came for a visit. I met with the cancer team at UC and the UC Cancer Institute and was very impressed by the collegiality and hard work everyone was putting into building the program. I came for a second visit and learned more about the phenomenal achievements of this cancer center over recent years and the mission and values of the program, and we decided to move.”
What is your area of expertise? What do you study?
"I see lung and head and neck cancer patients. These include all types of lung cancer, squamous cell cancers of the head and neck, salivary gland malignancies and thyroid cancer.
"In addition to taking care of patients, I am a clinical investigator and collaborate with scientists on a translational level. Together, we work on finding newer and safer ways of treating cancer. Some of this work is about new treatment strategies (clinical trials). Specifically, exploring integration of targeted or biological therapy into treatment of locally advanced (potentially curable) and advanced (currently not curable) head and neck and lung cancer patients.
"Another area of clinical interest is optimizing acute and long-term side effects of our treatments, along with better long-term functional outcome. This is particularly an important issue in treatment of head and neck cancers, and it applies to other diseases.
"I also have a lot of interest in studying mechanisms that result in response—or lack of—in cancer cells to certain treatments and markers that predict that behavior. We have worked on cancer tissue of patients getting chemotherapy as well as circulating cellular markers in blood of patients receiving chemotherapy and antiangiogenic treatment.”
How might oncology research impact patient care?
"Oncology is a relatively young field in history of medicine; however, the amount of research and progress that has happened in this field over the last few years is incredible. No other field in medicine comes even close.
"Many diseases that were considered incurable in the past are now cured on a routine basis. Some other diseases that unfortunately remain incurable have also seen dramatic improvement over the last few years in patient survival, or life expectancy, and quality of life. This could not have happened without research at each and every level.
"By participating in research and collaborating with other clinicians and scientists, we hope to find better ways to cure more patients with lung and head and neck cancers. Among those patients that we may not cure from their cancer, we hope to control their disease for a longer period of time, perhaps turning it into a chronic but livable condition.”
What do you like about being a hematology oncology physician/researcher?
"Once cancer is diagnosed, it becomes the ultimate important issue in most patients’ and their families’ lives. Our patient population is generally very appreciative of what we do, and we feel honored to be part of their medical family. We follow them very closely and get to know them very well. Not only our patients, but also their families become our family. Their good days become our good days, and their sad moments, ours.
"There is probably no other medicine specialty that combines the opportunity of building traditional close doctor-patient relationship and bonding as well as offering the use of rapidly advancing treatments and novel strategies .
"The ongoing discoveries in science and new treatments are fascinating, and the patient care aspect is extremely rewarding. It is truly a remarkable combination.”
What do you like to do in your spare time? Is there an interesting fact about you most people don’t know about?
"Apart from pastry, I consider myself a reasonable chef—and a good one during weekends. I do have a sweet tooth though, so pastry will always find its way into our kitchen. We have two little daughters, and they both spend time in the kitchen, sometimes as the sous chef.
"Schedule permitting, I like to see Broadway shows that make it to town. I also like to go to Music Hall. It is wonderful that here in Cincinnati, we have one of the oldest opera companies in the country—only second to New York. I am ready to enjoy many great performances.”