SWOG is a National Cancer Institute-supported clinical research cooperative group that designs and conducts multidisciplinary clinical trials to improve the practice of medicine in preventing, detecting, and treating cancer, and to enhance the quality of life for cancer survivors.
SWOG has roughly 5,000 affiliated physician researchers -- along with a similar number of nurses, clinical research associates, and other oncology research professionals -- participating at more than 650 institutions, most in the United States, but a number in Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and several other countries as well.
Among SWOG's member sites are 28 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers, as well as many leading university medical centers, private oncology practices, community hospitals, and community-based physician cooperatives.
Among the roughly 80 SWOG studies now underway are many testing new targeted therapies that show promise in blocking cancer-promoting genes and cellular processes while sparing healthy cells. Others break new ground as they test ways to tailor cancer treatment to a patient's individual needs and genetic makeup. Still others examine ways to prevent cancer.
An average of 5,000 cancer patients and healthy participants enroll each year in SWOG studies, and approximately 20,000 more are involved in ongoing clinical trials.
Since the group's founding in 1956, more than 200,000 participants have enrolled in SWOG-led clinical trials. The advances in cancer treatment and prevention that have come from those trials have improved the lives and health of millions more.
SWOG's Biorepository holds more than 500,000 specimens with associated clinical data.
At least 12 significant new drugs -- including drugs for lung cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, and leukemia -- have won FDA approval based on SWOG trial results.
Results of SWOG studies are reported at major medical conferences and published in leading medical journals at an average rate of more than once a week.
SWOG's average annual budget in recent years has been about $40 million.
The Hope Foundation is SWOG's philanthropic arm, a non-profit public charity dedicated to raising funds to support SWOG's misson. It has contributed more than $20 million in support of SWOG research programs.
Though SWOG originated in the southwestern U.S., it has long since become a national -- even international -- organization. Its core bases of operation are spread across the country, with key sites in California, Michigan, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.
SWOG conducts many large trials such as the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT), a prostate cancer prevention study that enrolled more than 35,000 men. But the group also leads groundbreaking phase I and phase II studies to test new targeted therapies, and biospecimen studies that make use of the latest discoveries in cancer genetics.