2021: A Year for Making (Saving) History
Part of the value of SWOG Cancer Research Network is our history. Since 1956, we’ve conducted over 1,400 cancer clinical trials enrolling over 225,000 volunteer participants. We’ve changed the standard of care in cancer over 100 times (including once last week!) and helped get the FDA green light for 14 new cancer drugs.
Along the way, we’ve also pioneered prevention, patient advocacy, digital engagement, and increased trial access to military veterans. (To learn more about our history and impact, check out our timeline on SWOG.org).
Celebrating our accomplishments, and sharing our story, is why SWOG and The Hope Foundation for Cancer Research are sponsors of the Cancer History Project, a new effort led by the editors of The Cancer Letter. The free website aims to be a Wikipedia for cancer research, offering articles, research studies, biographies, obituaries, photos, and even books.
Since its launch six weeks ago, the Cancer History Project has published 11,566 articles, tracked down and preserved two books, and published every issue of The Cancer Letter from 1973 to 2014. The site has attracted 5,567 unique visitors, for a total of 10,200 visits and 123,781 page views.
I’m proud to serve on the project’s editorial board, along with fellow SWOG members Dan Hayes, MD, Fred Hirsch, MD, and Nancy Davidson, MD. ASCO’s Cliff Hudis, MD, and AACR’s Margaret Foti, PhD, also serve on the editorial board. On the sponsor side, SWOG and Hope are in good company. ASCO is a sponsor, as are the ACT for NIH, City of Hope, and more.
Project editors Paul Goldberg of The Cancer Letter and Otis Brawley, MD, of Johns Hopkins launched the Cancer History Project this year to mark the 50th anniversary of the National Cancer Act . Signed just a few days before Christmas in 1971 by former U.S. President Richard Nixon, the act changed forever how we treat and study cancer. For the first time, it focused and funded a collaborative approach to cancer research and clinical care. The act created our current network of NCI-designated cancer centers, expanded our own National Clinical Trials Network, increased the authority of the NCI director, and created infrastructure for data and biospecimen collection. For an exhaustive summary, visit the NCI website here .
We’ll be working with Hope to create pages for both of our organizations on the Cancer History Project, so stay tuned. Once those are up, I’ll share the weblinks. Meanwhile, if you’re on Twitter, check out the NCI’s celebratory tweets for the 50th anniversary of the National Cancer Act. Albert Einstein said: "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning." Perfect quote for the Cancer History Project, and still a perfect quote for SWOG.