Understanding the cellular mechanisms sustaining functional capacity improvement with prehabilitation in colorectal cancer patients

Cancer is associated with weight loss, decreased muscle strength and inflammation. This has a tremendous impact on daily activity, autonomy and quality of life, involving both patients and care-givers. I previously worked on a preoperative intervention called ‘pre-habilitation’, a personalized exercise and nutritional supplementation delivered before surgery. The main idea is to prevent postoperative complications utilizing the time before surgery to put the patient in a better physical, nutritional and emotional state. In previous studies, I have shown that, with pre-habilitation, patients can undergo surgery in a better condition and recover faster. My future directions point towards the understanding of the cellular mechanism sustaining pre-habilitation. I plan to study mitochondria, the small organelles that play a key role in muscle deconditioning and inflammation, in muscle biopsies before and after intervention. Understanding the molecular mechanisms to favor faster recovery from surgery for cancer is a must needed in oncologic care.

Faculty Supervisor:

José Morais


Enrico Maria Minnella


Peri Operative Program




Medical devices




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