I introduced SWOG’s new learning management system (LMS) in this space about one year ago. The ExpertusOne system was rolled out in fall 2022, and since that time SWOG has more than doubled (tripled, by some metrics) the available course content we offer, from 46 courses in September 2022 to 129 today, comprising 15 distinct training plans (with one more plan on the launch pad and another in development). 

SWOG has a strong track record in education, while also being a premier research organization. The need is even greater as trials become more complex. As evidence of the need: since fall 2022, the courses we’ve developed have been completed by SWOG members and staff almost 4,000 times, not including those who began courses they didn’t see through to the end.

In part, the impressive growth in our training content (and the use of it) is because training opportunities are now being better captured and made more widely available, often for credit.

For example, professional development is one of the primary reasons we convene our twice-a-year group meetings, with many of the sessions offering Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits (22 sessions at this spring’s group meeting will offer CME).

At a typical group meeting, an average of 200 – 300 members attend each of our oncology research professional (ORP)-focused training sessions – the ORP Open Forum, the Site Operations session, and the Jeri and Noboru Oishi Symposium. We’ve worked hard to make more of this educational content available on an ongoing basis. The fall 2022 Oishi Symposium, for example, is now accessible in our LMS as an enduring Regulatory Workshop that site staff can use for reference or to supplement their local onboarding efforts.

Here's another example: the Advanced Practice Provider (APP) Clinical Research Workshop, developed by the APP task force and originally presented at the fall 2022 group meeting, is also now available on SWOG’s LMS for Hope Foundation-sponsored Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credit.

Over just the last year, we’ve published training content that includes

Our training portfolio also includes content produced by specific research committees, such as two genitourinary committee courses on The Role of Surgery and Radiation in Metastatic Prostate Cancer and The Role of Nephrectomy in Advanced Renal Cancer, both offered for CEU credit, and Spanish-language versions of a number of courses, such as Una introducción a IROC.

One key class of training content we’re developing more regularly than in the past is study-specific training – some required, some optional – to support local site initiation procedures. We create this training for all phase 3 trials and for studies that are particularly complex. In 2023, we posted 12 such courses on the Cancer Trial Support Unit’s (CTSU’s) CLASS LMS, where site personnel from all NCTN groups can readily access it.

We benefit hugely from the fact that training opportunities originate in many venues, and the expertise is provided by a wide range of members – investigators, ORPs, SWOG staff, site staff, group leaders, and more who continually contribute training and mentoring content. 

For instance: the Site PI Workshop I mentioned above rolls up 15 courses with content delivered by 13 different presenters (including me) in a range of roles, and more than 30 investigators have presented content in our Best of SWOG webinars, with CME credits available.

As I’ve said, many within SWOG contribute to this wealth of educational content, but the point person for much of it is our training manager, Cara Laubach, who has been developing and cataloguing prodigious amounts of valuable training content (qv. the evidence I cite above). In addition to thanking her for efforts, I’m happy to be able to announce we have just hired a part-time training administrator to assist her with administrative, account access, and system administration tasks, hopefully freeing up more of Cara’s time for doing what she does best – educating our members in all things SWOG. And beyond!


Trial of the Week

S1827: MRI Brain Surveillance Alone Versus MRI Surveillance and Prophylactic Cranial Irradiation (PCI): A Randomized Phase III Trial in Small-Cell Lung Cancer (MAVERICK)

The use of prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI) after first-line therapy in patients with small-cell lung cancer has historically been associated with fewer brain metastases but also with increased neurologic toxicity. It became part of the standard of care for small-cell lung cancer after two landmark studies showed it increased overall survival times, but a subsequent study found that adding PCI did not change progression-free survival or overall survival compared to MRI surveillance alone.

The phase III S1827 MAVERICK trial randomizes patients with limited-stage or extensive-stage small-cell lung cancer to PCI followed by regular brain MRIs versus regular brain MRIs alone.

It asks whether MRI surveillance alone is not inferior to PCI plus MRI surveillance as measured by overall survival as the primary endpoint. Secondary endpoints include cognitive function and brain metastases-free survival.

The study also includes health-related quality-of-life objectives comparing patient-reported cognitive functioning between arms six months after randomization as measured by two different instruments. 

S1827 was activated at the start of 2020 and has accrued 202 patients at 109 sites, with a goal of enrolling 668 patients. The study has been opened at about 350 sites.

Chad Rusthoven, MD, is S1827 study chair, and Boston Medical Center and Carolina Medical Center are the accrual leaders on the trial.

Learn more on the SWOG S1827 page or the CTSU S1827 page. 


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