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Mariana Chavez MacGregor, MD
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation
Goal: To improve breast cancer outcomes by preventing delays in treatment.
Impact: Dr. MacGregor has identified populations that are less likely to receive prompt treatment, which will help her and her team design interventions specific to these patients’ needs and challenges.
What’s next: She and her team will begin recruiting patients for a study aimed at advancing the understanding of barriers to care in underserved populations and identifying which of these challenges could be modified to reduce time to treatment.
Treatment with chemotherapy can reduce the risk of recurrence of breast cancer and improve overall survival in patients with early stage breast cancer. Delays in treatment are associated with poor outcomes. Having identified several groups of patients that are more likely to experience delays in the initiation of chemotherapy, Dr. MacGregor is working to develop personalized ways to overcome barriers to care in these populations and improve outcomes.
Full Research Summary
Research area: Pursuing ways to reduce the time to breast cancer treatment among vulnerable populations of patients and facilitate access to care.
Impact: The use of chemotherapy improves the outcomes of patients with early stage breast cancer, provided patients don’t experience delays in receiving treatment. While the determinants of delays in time to chemotherapy (TTC) are not clearly understood, Dr. MacGregor and her team have identified that Hispanic and African American patients, Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and those with more comorbidities or of low socioeconomic status are at higher risk of experiencing delays. Dr. MacGregor’s efforts to understand and remove the barriers experienced by these women could help improve timely treatment and decrease the risk of death.
Current investigation: Dr. MacGregor is evaluating the determinants of TTC delays in the vulnerable populations she’s identified. She will use this knowledge to design a culturally sensitive and patient-specific intervention to address the barriers to care these women face.
What she’s accomplished so far: In the first year of her Conquer Cancer Foundation project supported by BCRF, Dr. McGregor engaged different stakeholders including groups of breast cancer survivors, patient advocates and community members to develop a comprehensive interview guide. The guide has been tested in volunteers to assure understanding and reliability of the questions. She also created a Spanish version to include culturally relevant questions for Hispanic patients.
What’s next: Having built a large database to capture all the personal and clinical information—and a partnership with one of the top data analytic teams in the country—Dr. MacGregor will begin recruiting patients for her study of TTC delays.
Dr. Mariana Chavez MacGregor is a medical oncologist with a clinical practice dedicated to the care of patients with breast cancer. After finishing medical school at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, she obtained a Master in Sciences degree in Clinical Epidemiology at the Netherlands Institute of Health and Sciences. She completed her Clinical Residency in Internal Medicine at Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University School of Medicine followed by a Clinical Fellowship in Medical Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. She is an Associate Professor at The University of MD Anderson Cancer Center, holding a primary appointment in the Health Services Research Department, and a joint appointment in the Breast Medical Oncology Department.
In addition to a busy clinical practice, Dr. Chavez MacGregor is committed to an academic career, conducting research focused on breast cancer outcomes and disparities. She has extensive experience evaluating patterns of care, toxicities and complications of cancer treatment. In addition, she has been involved in the planning, design and implementation of clinical trials and is an active member of the global research community SWOG. She has received a number of awards including the SWOG Young investigator award and the Multinational Association of supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC) Young Investigator Award. She received the Achievement in Clinical Research Award and was recently honored with the MD Anderson Faculty Scholar Award. She holds leadership positions within ASCO, currently serving as the chair-elect of the Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee. Dr. Chavez MacGregor has written more than 100 articles, review articles, invited commentaries, and book chapters on breast cancer
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