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The Front Line
The Front Line: Charles D. Blanke, MD, SWOG Chair


SWOG's Innovation Working Group

Aug 30, 2013 - One of the most exciting initiatives SWOG has launched this year is our Innovation Working Group (IWG). The idea isn't new; many medical and non-medical organizations alike have dedicated teams working to develop novel ideas and strategies.

SWOG's IWG is led by our Vice-Chair for Translational Medicine Lee Ellis, who founded and has successfully led the NCI GI Cancer Steering Committee's IWG. Our IWG also numbers among its members key leaders from our basic science cancer center partners Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) and The Jackson Laboratory (JAX).

Our IWG's specific charges include the following:

  • Regularly review the trial portfolio of each research committee to ensure it has a balance of studies that incorporate biomarker and other translational objectives with the potential to drive significant clinical advances. This review cycle will start at the Spring 2014 group meeting in San Francisco.

  • Make recommendations for preclinical studies that will inform upcoming clinical trials.

  • Regularly review the SWOG Biorepository inventory, to identify opportunities for research that could have a major impact on the development of future clinical trials.

  • Scout out key translational medicine articles in journals not typically subscribed to by clinical researchers, sharing most relevant ones with SWOG investigators. These are distributed via the Friday "link of the week" mailings that go from Drs. Ellis and Rae to all our investigators.

  • Develop the agenda for the Plenary Part I Translational Medicine session held on Thursdays at our live semi-annual group meetings.

  • Help develop "cross-training" workshops that bring together clinical and laboratory scientists to educate each other on the work done by each group.

  • Supervise the review of proposals for HOPE Foundation Developmental Award funding.

Here is more information on just one of the most exciting ideas to come out of our IWG: Live "office hours" will be held by lab scientists, giving clinical investigators a chance to meet with them to discuss possible collaborations. Five scientists will hold office hours Friday, October 11, at the Chicago meeting. Sign up for a specific time slot.

I hope you agree the IWG efforts will markedly enhance our translational efforts and help us achieve our primary mission: making a difference in the lives of patients with cancer.


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