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The Front Line
The Front Line: Charles D. Blanke, MD, SWOG Chair

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SWOG's NCTN Grant Review: Strengths and Not; and Goals

Aug 9, 2013 - Colleagues -- You previously heard how proud we are of the scores we received on our NCTN Operations Center grant application. I wanted to follow up by giving you a quick update on the comments in the summary statement. Briefly:


  • clinical trial track record and development,
  • steps to increase patient advocacy,
  • plans to re-engage VA sites,
  • preliminary effort and plans for studying rare cancers,
  • fast tracking of trials in development,
  • senior leadership,
  • young investigator commitment,
  • new relationships with COG and LIVESTRONG,
  • membership plan,
  • smoothness of transition from old Chair to new,
  • general quality of Group Operations,
  • TM subcommittee efforts and our recruitment of PI Dr. Lee Ellis to lead TM, and
  • empowered Committee and Study Chairs.


  • implementing leadership term limits,
  • clarifying our milestones,
  • strengthening our online presence,
  • recognizing practice trends in the community,
  • collaborating more with groups outside the U.S.,
  • allowing non-SWOG members to bring forward trial proposals,
  • more effectively integrating TM.

(One of the many initiatives we're undertaking to improve performance on this last item: Four of our lab scientist partners from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, The Jackson Laboratory, and the University of Michigan will hold "office hours" at the fall group meeting to sit down with potential collaborators from throughout SWOG. Sign up information will be posted soon!)

I want to extend special thanks to PI Dr. Anne Schott, whose sections of the grant application scored particularly well.

All in all, the reviewers seemed quite pleased with your track record and our planned directions. They just want to make sure we implement what we promised! And they recommended that we have the chance to do so (if finances allow): The review summaries ended with the beautiful line "support for 5 years (as requested) is appropriate."


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