One of the things I admire most about The Hope Foundation for Cancer Research is that it never stands still. The Foundation is continually developing new programs to meet SWOG's evolving needs and to build on emerging opportunities. In fact, looking back over the last five years of Front Lines, in four of those years I've done a January or February post highlighting new programs from Hope!

Continuing that noble tradition, the newest Hope program is the Frank and Linda Meyskens Annual Endowed Lectureship on Advances in Cancer Prevention, which will sponsor a speaker every year at our spring group meeting. Gary Goodman, MD, has been selected as the first Meyskens Lecturer. Dr. Goodman seems an ideal choice. He was principle investigator on the landmark Beta-Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial (CARET), which tested the lung cancer chemo-preventive potential of beta carotene and vitamin A, and he served as one of the inaugural co-chairs for SWOG’s prevention committee, in addition to holding several other leadership roles within the group. He will deliver the inaugural Meyskens Lecture on Thursday, April 4th, during the prevention and epidemiology committee session at our group meeting in Seattle. 

Hope’s establishment of the Meyskens lectureship is a fitting recognition of Dr. Frank Meyskens as a pivotal SWOG leader. A SWOG member for more than four decades, Dr. Meyskens credits the group in those early years with having strongly encouraged his development of prevention as a “therapeutic” approach to cancer. 

He served as first chair of SWOG’s cancer control research committee, which was formed in the late 1980s. He subsequently served as SWOG associate chair for Cancer Control and Prevention and for the Community Clinical Oncology Program (and its successor, the NCI Community Oncology Research Program), and he helped design the structure of our highly productive cancer control and prevention committees.

Dr. Meyskens remains a key contributor to SWOG today, as an active member of multiple committees. Those who wish to honor him can make a donation to Hope to support the Meyskens Lectureship.

Balancing its drive to develop new programs to meet emerging needs, Hope also closely tracks its long-term goals. In late 2018, it announced a million-dollar four-year award to SWOG’s Statistics and Data Management Center (SDMC) to support complex statistical work across SWOG studies and data analysis for translational medicine research. 

Now, the Foundation has pledged its largest ever research award, $1.4 million over another four years to continue that support of the SDMC’s essential work.

Hope has also announced a number of individual research awards in recent months, and I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the awardees here, starting with the recipient of Hope’s first research project award to an investigator based outside of the United States.

The Foundation has awarded a SWOG Early Exploration and Development (SEED) Fund grant to Javier Retamales, MD, from the Chilean Cooperative Group for Oncologic Research (GOCCHI). Dr. Retamales’s name is a familiar one to many at SWOG, given his involvement with the SWOG Latin America Initiative and his position as a graduate of our Early-Stage Investigator Training Course.

Other awards announced in recent months that support the work of SWOG investigators include the following:

  • A Career Engagement Award – which ensures protected research time for mid-career investigators – to Meghna S. Trivedi, MD, to support her work as a study co-chair on the S2108CD trial testing the impact of a genomic tumor board intervention
  • Another Career Engagement Award to Jennifer Amengual, MD, for her work with the S2207 trial, which tests targeted treatments for patients with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma who are not candidates for transplant
  • An Impact Award – designed to support the early stages of innovative research – to Roger Li, MD, for work identifying characteristics that predict recurrence in low-grade non-muscle invasive bladder cancer 
  • A Dr. Charles A. Coltman, Jr., Fellowship – supporting early-career investigators – to Pedro C. Barata, MD, MSc, in support of his work on the BioFront Trial, a phase III study in development that will test a live biotherapeutic agent against advanced renal cell carcinoma
  • A Nicholas Vogelzang Scholarship to Umang Swami, MD. The Vogelzang Scholarship  supports an early-stage investigator’s attendance at two SWOG group meetings and pairs them with a senior mentor.

My final piece of Hope news is not an award granted but an award updated and relaunched. The John Crowley, PhD Award has not been offered in several years, but Hope is once again accepting applications for this award, which provides an early-career statistician an interactive, customizable mentorship opportunity with our peerless biostatisticians and data management staff at the SWOG SDMC in Seattle. The next application deadline for the Crowley Award is May 31st.

I’ll close by saying thank you to all who have served as reviewers for these funding programs, helping us select the best of the best for these critical lines of research support from the Foundation. 

We invite your application for the programs below, which have deadlines approaching in the next few months:  


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