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


Continuing to expand SWOG's AYA oncology effort

Dec 6, 2013 - At a number of events over the past few months, we have been laying the groundwork and forging the partnerships needed to make our Adolescent and Young Adult Committee and research efforts successful.

Back in July the Institute of Medicine's National Cancer Policy Forum and the LIVESTRONG Foundation sponsored a workshop on addressing the needs of adolescents and young adults with cancer. In September, I attended a follow-up to that workshop -- the NCI-sponsored Next Steps for AYA Oncology meeting, which was meant to help with strategic planning by providing updates on the science of AYA oncology, reviewing scientific gaps, and exploring potential funding opportunities. We heard from several working groups that looked at AYA oncology research from the perspectives of epidemiology, biology, health services, symptom management, and clinical studies.

This led to a meeting focused on clinical trials, a historic and exciting AYA planning congress earlier this month in Cleveland with leaders from adult cooperative groups and the Children's Oncology Group. The session was co-chaired by COG and Brandon Hayes-Lattin, who represented both SWOG's AYA Committee and the Critical Mass AYA Alliance advocacy organization, of which he serves as medical director. We had a very energetic group of participants, and what came out of this first intergroup AYA oncology retreat was a nice roadmap for enhancing clinical trial design and trial accrual for these patients. We discussed many potential ways to collaborate to move AYA oncology research forward by aggregating resources, patients, and data across cooperative groups, throughout the NCI, and with key organizations such as Critical Mass, and by working together to develop specific studies.

I am proud that SWOG is helping lead the AYA effort from the adult side, as well as through active partnering with world-class experts in organizations like COG and Critical Mass.

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