It’s true we’re in a state of national emergency. I’m pleased to report, however, that SWOG Cancer Research Network is not simply treading water – we’re still making progress.

On top of our coronavirus workload and our regular tasks – like processing manuscripts, managing data, negotiating contracts, paying sites, enrolling members – SWOG and Hope staff continue to advance important new projects.

Since February, this work includes:

- Launching a new, fully-automated conflict of interest management system from our operations office (If you haven’t filed your annual COI, and got an email notice to do so, please submit it now)

- Bringing on board one new research patient advocate for our recruitment and retention committee and five new community advocates, who bring diverse viewpoints and exceptional experience to the group

- Preparing an innovative annual award program from The Hope Foundation for Cancer Research (whose announcement will be made in a few weeks)

- Securing a formal partnership with NCI’s Cancer Information Service to advance SWOG’s digital engagement and patient advocate efforts

These major projects advance goals laid out in SWOG’s five-year strategic plan and represent a significant amount of planning and development.

SWOG and Hope staff, and our leadership team, are also rising to meet the current challenge. In the last six weeks, since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, we’ve adapted to the pressures of this public health emergency. We’ve handled the logistics for canceling our in-person spring group meeting, and organized 24 virtual meetings for next week. Our protocol team has issued 19 study-specific trial memos – you can see the list here – and our statistics and data management team has, for the first time, produced the entire SWOG data and safety monitoring committee report and internal data review via tele-work. This report includes data on 39 studies.

At the same time, we’ve hired two new staffers at our operations center.  We’re at work developing about 20 new trial concepts with industry partners, and are reviewing and approving new SWOG trials, including a pancreatic cancer study that our executive team green-lighted this week. SWOG members will also present ground-breaking research findings at the upcoming AACR and ASCO virtual meetings. Stay tuned for the press releases!

I want to thank every SWOG and Hope staffer for not only managing this crisis deftly, but also helping us make real, meaningful progress at the same time. I also want to thank members able to do so for continuing to accrue to our trials.