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The Smart Pediatric Oncology Tracker of Symptoms

Crane receives NIH funding

Supports ongoing pediatric cancer symptom research

HOUSTON (April 2, 2021) – A new grant will enable Stacey Crane, PhD, RN, to continue and expand her development of the Smart Pediatric Oncology Tracker of Symptoms (SPOTS), a web-based interface designed to make it easier for kids with cancer and their parents to report symptoms in real time. Crane is an assistant professor in the Department of Research at Cizik School of Nursing at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). 

Crane’s new K-23 Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Nursing Research (NIH/NINR) is titled “Facilitating Comprehensives Self and Proxy Symptom Assessments for Children with Cancer” (K23 NR019294). This $445,144, three-year grant builds on Crane’s earlier research. 

“This grant represents an exciting next step in the advancement of Dr. Crane’s important work,” said Constance Johnson, PhD, associate dean and Maria C. and Christopher J. Pappas Family Distinguished Chair of the Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth’s research department. “I am honored to serve as her primary mentor for this grant and for the opportunity to help Dr. Crane build a promising program of symptom science research.” 

Co-mentors for the project are Wenyaw Chan, PhD, professor of biostatistics at the UTHealth School of Public Health; Karen Moody, MD, of The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center; and Pamela Hinds, PhD, RN, of Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. 

Hinds and her colleague, Bryce Reeve, PhD, led the team that developed the Pediatric Patient-Reported Outcomes version of the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (Pediatric PRO-CTCAE™), a patient-reported outcome measurement system that uses 130 questions to assess 62 different symptoms. SPOTS, an interface derived from that system, is intended to simplify the process for kids with cancer and their parents to systematically and routinely report symptoms to health care providers. 

Last year Crane, a certified pediatric oncology nurse, became the first nurse scientist to receive a St. Baldrick’s Foundation Scholar award. Like the NIH grant, it helped fund the development of SPOTS. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation supports promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors longer and healthier lives. 

“Our ultimate goal is to improve outcomes for kids with cancer by helping providers identify and manage symptoms so they can better develop targeted treatment plans for individual patients,” Crane said. “I am very grateful for the support of the NINR and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation in our efforts to improve the lives of patients and their families.” 

Crane joined Cizik School of Nursing’s faculty in 2019 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Indiana School of Nursing, where she earned her PhD in nursing science and a graduate certificate in bioethics. She holds an Master Science in Nursing with an informatics focus. She previously practiced as a pediatric oncology nurse in various capacities for more than a decade.

Dr. Stacey Crane
Dr. Stacey Crane