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

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A new era in community cancer research

Dec 27, 2013 - As we enter the home stretch of preparing the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) Research Base grant application, I welcome this break and the opportunity to inform you of exciting developments in the evolution of our cancer control and prevention efforts. Speaking of which, I need to thank our Principal Investigators (Drs. Meyskens, Hershman, and Tangen), as well as many others, who gave up major chunks of their holidays to write the grant.

As you all know, SWOG's Associate Chair for Cancer Control and Prevention, Dr. Frank Meyskens, reorganized SWOG's initiatives on this front about five years ago, guiding the evolution of SWOG cancer prevention, control, and screening (CPCS) studies from classic epidemiology-based protocols toward pathway- and data-driven studies and new trial designs. He continues to oversee our CPCS research, as well as our burgeoning (and I say that in a good way) cancer care delivery (CCD) research program.

CCD research is a growing area of interest to the new NCORP. SWOG has a bit of a head start in developing this area, based on work already done through our Outcomes and Comparative Effectiveness Committee. To better reflect our expanding CCD research portfolio, that Committee will be re-tooled as a full-fledged Cancer Care Delivery Research Program containing a committee with the same name (details coming after the application goes in!), and a CCD Core sitting within our Statistical Center.

Here's the bigger news: Dr. Meyskens has built a world-class cancer control program within SWOG, but he has informed me that some time over the next grant period he will be ready for new responsibilities. He will certainly remain in office long enough to start the new initiatives you will be hearing more about, and he will also overlap and mentor the Associate Chair Designee. We have been thinking about a potential replacement and vetting candidates for quite some time. Assuming our Research Base grant application is reviewed favorably, I am very happy to announce Dr. Hershman has accepted my offer to succeed Dr. Meyskens. You all know Dr. Hershman is an internationally recognized leader in breast cancer treatment and breast cancer prevention and control, and of course her CCD experience is already world-class. Our Research Base is already in, and will remain in, the best possible hands.

Happy New Year!


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