Spring Group Meeting: Back to a Favorite City
It was a real pleasure to see so many of you face-to-face at our group meeting in San Francisco. There was extraordinary energy in those meeting rooms, and it was exciting to spend time with our colleagues from the National Cancer Institute and elsewhere.
I was awed by the presentations at our general plenary session on global oncology research, and these were wonderfully complemented by the content of our SWOG Latin America Initiative Symposium and by Dr. Karen Kelly’s Livingston Lecture on global oncology (remember that Dr. Kelly is CEO of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer).
She delivered that Livingston Lecture at the lung committee’s open session, which itself was a particularly joyous affair, in part thanks to the glow of the highly promising launch of the S2302 Pragmatica-Lung trial (already open at more than 200 sites, with the first two dozen patients enrolled).
Drs. Michael Liss and Monty Pal put together a fantastic Nicholas Vogelzang Symposium (established in memory of our late colleague) on the microbiome as a new frontier for clinical trials in SWOG. Dr. Vogelzang would have been proud. I certainly was, and am thankful to Drs. Liss and Pal for helping chart a course for SWOG in incorporating the microbiome into our clinical research. And who knew there was a museum dedicated to the microbiome!
Our patient advocate session heard a riveting talk from Barbara Bierer, MD, Director of the Multi-Regional Clinical Trials Center, on how to conduct more inclusive clinical trials, followed by a highly animated discussion on the topic. This session also welcomed three new patient advocates – Darrell Nagakawa in bladder cancer, Tricia Hernandez in lymphoma, and Karen Costello in prostate cancer (I hope to have the chance soon to introduce you properly to these and other new patient advocates).
The Genomics Platform Theater, organized by SWOG Vice Chair for Translational Medicine Lee Ellis, MD, was a huge success, with more than 100 attendees, both physical and virtual. They saw presentations on eight -omics platforms potentially available for use in clinical trials. Dr. Lee, as always, also brought together a wonderful lineup of experts to educate us in the translational medicine plenary session.
If you registered for the meeting and haven’t yet completed the post-meeting survey, please do so. I took an early peek at the responses and noticed that the percentage of registrants who were claiming Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits was down from last fall’s event. Quite a few said they weren’t aware those credits were available.
At all of our group meetings, we take extraordinary efforts to make CME credits available to members for as many sessions as possible. This requires collecting conflict-of-interest disclosure information from all speakers and planners at CME-eligible sessions, among many other administrative preparations. We put in the work so you can earn the credits. At this spring’s meeting, you could have earned as many as 30.5 CME credits (and potentially still can).
Our symposia (Take Action, Vogelzang, and ad hoc), our plenaries, and more than 20 of our research and research support committee open sessions at the spring meeting could earn you those CME credits. The fall meeting will offer a similar range of opportunities. Check our agenda book for details, and at the fall session we’ll boost our advertising of CME credit opportunities.
The biggest news to come out of group meeting, of course, wasn’t official until a couple of days after the meeting, once the votes were counted – the election by our board of governors of Drs. Primo Lara and Dawn Hershman as our group co-chairs-elect. This was a truly historic election for SWOG, and the outcome is extraordinarily good news for the group’s future.
Recordings of most open sessions from San Francisco will be available very soon, so check the SWOG website for news. Thank you to all who worked to plan the meeting, all who presented, and to all of you who attended!