Raj Mantena, RPh, Makes $1 Million Donation to Conquer Cancer Foundation to Help Build the Future of Cancer Care

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Raj Mantena, RPh (right), accepts thanks from then-Conquer Cancer Foundation Chair Martin J. Murphy, DMedSc, PhD, FASCO, at the 2012 ASCO Annual Meeting.

Thomas Marsland, MD

Nancy R. Daly, MS, MPH

I am interested in CancerLinQ and chose to support this initiative because it is going to provide researchers and clinicians with critical, comprehensive information about the treatment of cancer patients and will result in more amazing health outcomes in the future.

—Raj Mantena, RPh

It is a challenge faced time and time again by oncologists: how to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients while simultaneously controlling costs, providing care that is both high quality and high value. Raj Mantena, RPh, the first individual to donate $1 million dollars to the Conquer Cancer Foundation, has spent his career wrestling with that challenge.

Mr. Mantena’s educational background in clinical pharmacy provided a foundation for an extraordinary entrepreneurial career in health care. Over the past 20 years, he has founded or cofounded a number of groundbreaking companies in the oncology arena that all focused on improving cancer care. At the forefront of each of his ventures has been a genuine concern for increasing the quality of care received by patients while simultaneously improving the efficiency of the delivery of cancer treatment.

Throughout Mr. Mantena’s career this question of how to improve patient outcomes and the overall efficiency of cancer care has never been far from his mind, and it was Mr. Mantena’s continued drive to find answers and create solutions that eventually lead him to the Conquer Cancer Foundation and ASCO.

A History of Innovation

Mr. Mantena was introduced to the Conquer Cancer Foundation through his colleague and friend Thomas Marsland, MD, who is a member of the Conquer Cancer Foundation Board of Directors.

Mr. Mantena was interested in the Conquer Cancer Foundation not only because of its mission, but for how the expertise and front-line experience of ASCO’s membership drive that mission to achieve tangible results for patients and cancer care providers. This expertise provides the Foundation with “the authenticity and the credibility” to tackle cancer care’s biggest challenges, he said. 

He learned more about the Foundation’s work firsthand when Dr. Marsland invited him to the 2011 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago. Throughout the meeting, Mr. Mantena was introduced to the Foundation’s prestigious Grants & Awards Program; its support of superlative educational opportunities for physicians and patient information resources, including ASCO’s patient information website Cancer.Net; and finally, a fledgling project that was little known at that time but had enormous promise: a rapid-learning system called CancerLinQ™.

Unquestionably, Raj Mantena’s experience as an entrepreneur in the field of oncology—experience engaging the right people and the right resources to create something new that benefits both patients and health-care providers—is a key aspect of his philanthropic support of the Conquer Cancer Foundation and ASCO. Mr. Mantena was happy to provide support for ­Cancer.Net—calling it “an amazing site for cancer patients and their caregivers”—but it was clear from the start that his passion was in the new and lifesaving promise of CancerLinQ.

CancerLinQ: A New Universe in Cancer Care

CancerLinQ is a cutting-edge health information technology platform that will harness “big data” to revolutionize how we care for people with cancer. The result will be higher quality, higher value care with better outcomes for patients, powered by vast quantities of information that are now lost to file cabinets and unconnected servers. It represents the next major step in ASCO and the Conquer Cancer Foundation’s efforts to improve the quality of cancer care.

“Mr. Mantena’s support of CancerLinQ represents an important breakthrough,” said Nancy R. Daly, MS, MPH, Executive Director of the Conquer Cancer Foundation. “His gift is a catalyst for the Conquer Cancer Foundation and the total CancerLinQ project, and he is a truly transformative ally for us in our mission to build a world free from the fear of cancer.”

Mr. Mantena puts it somewhat more simply: “I am interested in CancerLinQ and chose to support this initiative because it is going to provide researchers and clinicians with critical, comprehensive information about the treatment of cancer patients and will result in more amazing health outcomes in the future.”

Encouraging Others

Mr. Mantena’s support is not limited to his personal philanthropy; he is eager to introduce others to the Conquer Cancer Foundation and encourage them to join him in supporting the vision of a world free from the fear of cancer. In 2013, Mr. Mantena offered matching gift challenges to individual donors at the ASCO Annual Meeting, during a challenge month in September, and at the close of the year, each time providing a dollar-for-dollar match to double the impact of individual gifts—in total, more than $800,000.

Mr. Mantena’s generosity to the Conquer Cancer Foundation has produced significant benefits in the ongoing fight against cancer, from fueling the oncologist-approved patient information on Cancer.Net, to tapping the power of clinical information through CancerLinQ, to supporting the full gamut of the Foundation’s programs via his matching gift challenges. But utimately his gifts, alongside the gifts of every other individual who supports the Foundation, are in pursuit of a singular goal: better patient outcomes. We are extremely grateful for Mr. Mantena’s support because whether through research, education, or quality care innovation, improving outcomes for patients worldwide is at the heart of what it means to truly Conquer Cancer. ■

© 2014. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.