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

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A taste of the future at the SWOG Young Investigators workshop

Sep 6, 2013 - Next week I have the privilege of traveling to Seattle to help lead SWOG's Young Investigators Training Course. With the six researchers attending the 2013 session, SWOG's Young Investigators (YI) workshops will have helped advance the early career of 75 SWOG researchers over the past 13 years (thank you to The Hope Foundation!). YI researchers have gone on to lead some three dozen SWOG clinical trials that were developed in these YI sessions.

Here is a brief introduction to this year's group of Young Investigators:

  • Sarah B. Goldberg, MD, MPh, of the Yale University Cancer Center is working on plans for a study that asks whether adding cetuximab to afatinib at the start of treatment, rather than rolling out the cetuximab only when the cancer has become TKI-resistant, can delay the development of such resistance in patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

  • Melanie Goldfarb, MD, of the University of Southern California is the Children's Oncology Group Aflac Young Investigator. She joins us as part of a COG-SWOG partnership on adolescent and young adult cancer. Dr. Goldfarb is developing a survivorship study of AYA patients who had head and neck radiation, to identify the best methods and schedules for screening these survivors for thyroid nodules or cancers.

  • Kenneth F. Grossmann, MD, PhD, of the University of Utah's Huntsman Cancer Institute, is working on a phase III protocol for a large high-risk melanoma immunotherapy study, utilizing a drug that targets the programmed cell death (PD-1) inhibitory receptor on T-cells.

  • Claudio Jeldres, MD, of the Virginia Mason Medical Center, is developing a plan to analyze a sizable swath of SWOG trial data as the basis for assessing patterns of care in patients with testicular cancer.

  • Soham D. Puvvada, MD, of the University of Arizona Cancer Center, is preparing a study looking at whether adding ibrutinib to R-CHOP or other standard chemotherapy can lengthen progression-free survival in patients who have follicular lymphoma.

  • The sixth Young Investigator is Ravi Shridhar, MD,PhD, of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute. Dr. Shridhar's study will attempt to validate a new biomarker that will help us determine when neoadjuvant chemoradiation is indicated for a patient with advanced gastric cancer.

As should be clear from this list of studies, our YI are an ambitious and exciting group. The SWOG YITC promises to encompass an intense and enjoyable few days.

P.S. Fall meeting office hours with some of our laboratory scientist partners are filling up. If you want an appointment, follow the links from [ link expired ].


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