An NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center
By Maxine Nunes | October 18, 2018
Mohammadbagher Ziari, M.D. Mohammadbagher Ziari, M.D.
“There is always hope, always something to do to change a patient’s life,” said Mohammadbagher Ziari, M.D.
That is the core belief that drives the work of this medical oncologist and hematologist/oncologist at City of Hope in Corona, California. Whether he finds a cure or simply the most effective way to alleviate pain or other distressing symptoms, his efforts are often aided by the substantial City of Hope resources he can draw on as part of this local clinical network location.
There was, for example, the 35-year old woman who came to him in 2014 with Stage 4 colorectal cancer. Her physician had told her there was nothing he could do but offer her hospice care.
Ziari enrolled her in a City of Hope immunotherapy trial for a drug that has since been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
“She has been in remission for the past four years,” he said. “She has four kids, she and her husband run a great business and she leads a very normal, very active life.”
Ziari has also enrolled two patients in the groundbreaking CAR T cell therapy trials for blood cancers at City of Hope’s main campus in Duarte. Both are now doing well.
Hope, of course, can’t always mean a cure. For a patient who has end-stage cancer without any treatment options, it’s often about finding a way to ease their pain or discomfort.
Recently, a man with lung cancer who was being treated elsewhere with intense chemotherapy came to Ziari suffering from severe side effects. Ziari performed a biopsy and discovered that the cancer was EGFR positive, which meant the patient was a good candidate for a new type of targeted therapy with EGFR inhibitors. The change has been remarkable.
“He’s back to work, he’s gained about 10 pounds and his life has improved so much,” said Ziari.
State-of-the-art treatment is just one way Ziari can offer hope to his patients. Just as important is the time he takes to listen to their complaints, probe for details, then find a way to ease their discomfort. Sometimes the answer is as simple as eliminating unnecessary drugs.
“If a patient tells you he has nausea and vomiting, this is very important,” he said. “When you just take care of these two issues, it can help them enjoy life again.”

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