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



Apr 11, 2014 - SWOG's leadership team has been working behind the scenes to cultivate new relationships with a wide range of partners -- with foundations and professional societies, as you might expect, and with some unexpected allies as well, such as organizations with a stake in health informatics. We are trying to connect SWOG more broadly in part because we have learned much from the successful public-private partnership underlying our Lung Master Protocol, and because the National Cancer Institute has encouraged collaboration with non-Network groups. Increasingly, we recognize that such partnerships are becoming vital to thriving in an era of ever more complex clinical trials, particularly involving rare cancers or even small subsets of common cancers.

Some of these partnerships truly are highly public -- for example working, along with the NCI, with Friends of Cancer Research, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, and a group of industry associates to launch the Lung Master Protocol, now rapidly approaching activation and discussed above. Others are quieter but no less essential, such as our partnership with Livestrong, which has contributed significantly to our developing effective strategies in the area of adolescent and young adult cancer.

Still other partnerships are in gestation. We are in advanced planning stages with a VA consortium featured in previous columns. I and other members of the leadership team have held a number of meetings with potential business partners who can also help with data-organized research. We will continue to discuss and brainstorm how we might collaborate synergistically in the latter setting, to the benefit of everyone. This might range from establishing more formalized modes of interaction, to co-developing education and training modules, to proposing large-scale joint research projects, with a patient-centered emphasis.

SWOG will continue to evolve, as you all desire and as our environment requires. We will continue to design and conduct cancer clinical research in the public interest, working with anyone who shares our highest goal -- improved outcomes for patients.


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