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The Front Line: Charles D. Blanke, MD, SWOG Chair
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We’ve Hit M and M and M: A Major Membership Milestone

July 1, 2016 - SWOG members play second fiddle only to our patients, in terms of importance to the group. That’s why I am so pleased we’ve tipped the scales at over 1,000 member sites – 1,032 to be exact. That means that our cancer clinical trials are available to more patients – in more hospitals, clinics, physician practices, and health care organizations – than at any time in our history. It’s a great milestone to hit as we celebrate our 60th anniversary.

We leaped over the 1,000 site mark last week, when the Wisconsin NCORP came on board. This system includes more than two dozen hospitals, clinics, and treatment centers in Wisconsin and Michigan. A warm welcome to Principal Investigator Dr. Adedayo A. Onitilo and Head Clinical Research Associate Brian Zaleski. We are glad to have you join!

Investigators in the NCI’s Community Oncology Research Program are certainly driving our recent growth. In just the last year, we’ve added NCORP member sites in several states, including Iowa, Massachusetts, Alaska, Georgia, Virginia, South Carolina, Utah, and Arizona. We have made a concerted effort to recruit and retain members in community hospitals and clinics, including the addition last year of the NCORP clinical trials workshop, the group meeting session that walks investigators and research professionals through the unique management of NCORP clinical trials.

New membership rules are another driver of our growth. In 2014, we revised our policies to allow for three categories of members – full, affiliate, and component. This change, approved by the Board of Governors, accommodated smaller sites that accrued consistently to our trials but weren’t big enough to meet old accrual benchmarks.

Finally, we’re growing because we’re broadening eligibility in other ways. We’ve welcomed The Jackson Laboratory and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory – two of the best basic science labs in the nation. We’ve actively recruited VA hospitals. And we are making a big play internationally, with members in Canada, Columbia, Korea, Mexico, Peru, and Saudi Arabia, and some new potential in Israel and Australia. Diversity, in our membership as well as in our patients, is making our group and our trials better.

So, in SWOG’s 60th year and on the eve of America’s birthday, we’ve got a lot to celebrate. We’re now 12,466 members strong, at 1,032 sites, in 46 states, and six other countries. We’ve come a long way – and will continue our steady progress. Happy Fourth of July!

Reminder: The 58th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) will be held December 3-6, 2016, in San Diego. The abstract submission deadline is Thursday, August 4, 2016, 11:59 p.m. (PDT), and the SWOG internal deadline is Thursday, July 21, 2016. SWOG abstracts must be submitted to pubs@swog.org for processing two weeks prior to the conference submission deadline to allow for authorship review, obtaining required approvals, and circulation to appropriate reviewers including NCI/CTEP and, where indicated, industry collaborators.

 

 
     
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