UniHealth Foundation grant will help transform geriatric cancer care

May 8, 2015 | by City of Hope Staff

Photo of Arti Hurria City of Hope researcher Arti Hurria was awarded a $733,951 grant from UniHealth Foundation to help transform geriatric cancer care.

Older adults, by far, represent the largest population of cancer patients globally. With the median age of U.S. citizens projected to increase sharply in the next few years, the incidence of cancer is expected to rise higher, as well. City of Hope is at the forefront of geriatric cancer care, and an important new grant will help transform how these older adult patients are treated.

Arti Hurria, M.D., director of City of Hope's Cancer and Aging Research Program, garnered a $733,951 award from UniHealth Foundation. The grant is the largest ever obtained from the foundation by a City of Hope investigator.

Through previous research, Hurria and her team have developed a method to assess older adult patients’ risk of chemotherapy side effects and other complications. They will use the UniHealth Foundation award to integrate that assessment method into everyday care. In addition, they will establish a multidisciplinary team of health care professionals to rapidly address each patient’s needs, as indicated by the assessments.

The care team will combine City of Hope's exceptional expertise in nursing, social work, rehabilitation, nutrition, pharmacy and medical oncology to provide specialized care for elderly patients. The project aims for three main goals:

  •  Reduce serious complications, which can lead to unnecessary hospitalization.
  •  Empower patients to make educated treatment decisions.
  •  Improve quality of life.
“Because of the aging of the U.S. population and the association of cancer with aging, there will be a significant increase in the number of older adults being diagnosed with cancer,” Hurria said. “Our goal is to address the unique needs of each older adult, enhancing their chances of successfully completing cancer treatment and minimizing the chance of preventable complications. We are very grateful to UniHealth Foundation for their support of our ongoing work.”

“UniHealth Foundation is honored to support the integration of Dr. Hurria’s research into the everyday care of older adults with cancer,” said Mary Odell, president of UniHealth Foundation. “This project represents the realization of the patient-centered care espoused by our national health policy. We believe the potential for replication in numerous clinical settings is tremendous.”

UniHealth Foundation is a nonprofit philanthropic organization founded in 1998. The foundation’s mission is to support and facilitate activities that significantly improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities within its service area.

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