I am excited to announce Seth P. Lerner, MD, has accepted our offer to be the next chair of SWOG's genitourinary research committee, effective July 1st. 

It’s always difficult to choose when the search committee presents you with more than one stellar candidate, but Dr. Lerner is exceptionally qualified and is the right person to take on this role, when Dr. Ian Thompson steps down.

Dr. Lerner is the Beth and Dave Swalm Chair in Urologic Oncology at Baylor College of Medicine. He has been a member of SWOG since 1992 and has been active with the GU committee from the start, serving since 2009 as the committee’s organ site chair for bladder – local disease. He has been a long-standing member of our surgery committee as well.

A key driver of numerous clinical trials, Dr. Lerner is principal investigator for the S1011 phase III surgical trial in bladder cancer, which just last week reported an answer to its primary question in an oral presentation at ASCO. The S1011 results are expected to set a new standard, guiding the extent of lymph node removal as part of radical cystectomy for clinically localized muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NB: you have a fabulous opportunity to hear Dr. Lerner present these findings at our “Best of SWOG at ASCO” webinar later this month).

It’s hard to think of someone who has a more complete understanding of the process – start to finish – of developing and conducting clinical trials within SWOG and the National Clinical Trials Network. His insight is built on his deep experience in all stages of that work, much of it in leadership roles, including as founding co-chair of the NCI CTEP bladder cancer task force and subsequently as co-chair of CTEP’s GU steering committee.

A consummate clinical trialist, Dr. Lerner is also a highly accomplished translational researcher. He is an integral contributor to the GU committee’s extensive translational medicine portfolio and has himself led multiple translational studies. 

One of Dr. Lerner’s colleagues has aptly described him as “a triple threat – clinician, scientist, and mentor,” highlighting that he’s also known and loved for his nurturing of young researchers and his commitment to providing research leadership roles for early-stage investigators.

GU is SWOG’s largest committee, and has long been one of our most productive, so I’m  grateful to have someone taking the reins who has such a strong leadership record in SWOG, the NCI, national organizations, and internationally. Dr. Lerner is eminently equipped to manage the operational complexities of a large committee that encompasses multiple disease sites, and I’m confident the years to come will continue to see this committee produce landmark advances improving the lives of patients with GU cancers.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Lerner as incoming chair of genitourinary research. Also join me in extending our profound thanks to Dr. Ian Thompson, also one of our senior and most productive leaders, for his amazing service to SWOG and our patients leading our GU research. We will plan to thank him properly at the fall group meeting, though how we will do so is a secret for now.

Thanks also to the search committee, led by Executive Officer Christopher Ryan, MD, for its excellent work in assembling a portfolio of outstanding candidates for this position.

We’ve appointed two amazing committee chairs in the last couple of weeks. Stay tuned for a bit more upcoming news in that realm.