Society management

Mays Cancer Center Receives Grant from American Cancer Society to Boost Individualized, Timely, and Equitable Care

Mobile app will provide real-time dietary advice and symptom management

Contact: Steven Lee, 210-450-3823,

SAN ANTONIO – The Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio received a $300,000 grant from the American Cancer Society to improve individualized, timely, and equitable access to care for cancer patients and their families.

The local effort will include using an innovative mobile app in collaboration with Rakshit Sharma, MD, CEO of digital health company Care4ward Inc., to provide real-time nutritional support and symptom management to patients undergoing treatment. cancer patients, especially the underserved and those who live far from the clinic.

The grant, spanning just over two years, is known as the “Navigation Capacity Building Initiative Grant,” referring to the use of patient “navigators” such as registered nurses with Oncology-specific clinical knowledge that helps guide patients through healthcare systems with the resources they need. The American Cancer Society views patient navigation as key to overcoming barriers to care.

The grant program to be implemented by Mays Cancer Center will provide cancer patients with ongoing access to dietary and symptomatic support.

“The American Cancer Society grant award is to provide real-time medical nutrition therapy and symptom management through digital navigation and access to innovation for underserved cancer patients,” said declared Daruka Mahadevan, MD, Ph.D., chief of the division of hematology and medical oncology at UT Health San Antonio and associate director of clinical research at Mays Cancer Center. “This, we hope, will lead to even better patient outcomes.”

Mahadevan is a co-investigator on the grant, with Kayla Chamberlin, BSN, RNSenior Clinical Research Nurse, Institute for Drug Development at Mays Cancer Center.

The mobile app provided by Agilix, a digital nutrition management and counseling service, will facilitate this real-time outreach, part of a wide-ranging effort involving staff from across Mays Cancer Center – from doctors to nurses. researchers, dietitians and other navigators to provide individualized support.

“With support encompassing symptom management, daily monitoring, and weekly calls with a registered dietitian, Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio, together with Agilix, is better positioned to maintain a holistic and superior level of care for patients. oncology patients,” Chamberlin said. . “This will become the new standard of care.”

Mahadevan said patients undergoing treatment but living far from the cancer center could see their oncologists and nurses every two to three weeks. But during the period at home, complications may arise, and the news may not reach the clinic in time. He said those patients could end up in an emergency room and be admitted to hospital.

“So if we can capture symptoms in real time, we can prevent patient visits to the emergency room,” Mahadevan said. “And if a patient is able to receive their treatment on time and at the right dose, with proper nutritional therapy, the chances of actually benefiting from the treatment are much higher than if they couldn’t.”

The Mays Cancer Center funding at UT Health San Antonio is one of 20 patient navigation grants awarded by the American Cancer Society across the country, totaling $6 million.

Data shows that personalized care provided through patient navigation programs reduces hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions and improves timely diagnostic follow-up, according to the American Cancer Society. Additionally, patient navigation increases scheduled appointments, adherence to recommended cancer screening, and the likelihood that treatment will be initiated within 30-60 days of diagnosis.

“The Patient Navigation Program offered at UT Health San Antonio’s Mays Cancer Center takes an innovative approach to engaging underserved patients in new ways and helping address the daily challenges they face during cancer treatment,” said Donna Rankin, manager of strategic cancer support partnerships with the American Cancer Society. “Our $300,000 grant will help Mays Cancer Center employ resources that will not only anticipate and address disruptions in a cancer patient’s treatment plan, but also ensure that they fully benefit from cutting-edge science. at his disposal.

The grants will enable more people with cancer to benefit from patient navigation and will inform ACS’s future strategy and direction to improve the sustainability, impact and delivery of patient navigation in the future.

University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio), a key driver of San Antonio’s $42.4 billion healthcare and biosciences sector, is South Texas’ largest research university with an annual research portfolio of $350 million. Generating substantial economic impact with its five professional schools, a diverse workforce of over 7,000, an annual operating budget of over $1 billion, and a clinical practice that provides over 2 million patient visits. patients each year, UT Health San Antonio plans to add more than 1,500 higher-paying jobs over the next five years to serve San Antonio, Bexar County, and southern Texas. To learn more about the many ways “We make lives better®”, visit

The Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio is one of only four National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers in Texas. Mays Cancer Center provides cutting-edge cancer care, powers innovative cancer research, and educates the next generation of leaders to end cancer in South Texas. Visit

Stay connected with the University of Texas San Antonio Health Sciences Center on Facebook, TwitterLinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.