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

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SWOG and a Different Style of Publication

Aug 8, 2014 - Getting the results of SWOG's research out to oncologists and the medical community at large is critical to achieving our mission. As such, we aggressively pursue presentation, and then publication of our scientific results. As a member of the Editorial Board of Seminars in Oncology, I've been asked to guest edit a publication with a slightly different slant -- an issue of that journal dedicated to the vision and purpose underlying the cooperative groups. Fellow editorial board members have included chairs from several of our sister cooperative groups (SWOG's Chuck Coltman was also on the editorial board some years ago as well), and cooperative group work has been well represented in the journal over the years. If you're not familiar with the publication, each issue features a set of interlinked reviews concerning one major topic. The edition I'm guest editing, along with Walter Curran of NRG and which is due out at the end of the year, is titled "Publicly Funded Research Through the U.S. Cooperative Groups."

This issue is a chance to highlight SWOG's and the other groups' histories over the last several decades, as well as to touch on some of the broader research challenges facing the entire NCI National Clinical Trials Network. Conceptually, all articles will include some coverage of prior accomplishments but mostly will feature future vision, and planned incorporation of the latest science.

Specifically, Walter and I have invited a group of academic and community leaders within SWOG and other cooperative groups to submit manuscripts on the evolution and success of the North American groups, highlighting trial results, drugs approved, policy issues, barriers to advancement, and perspective on the cooperative groups' future in the NCTN. You will find chapters that include challenges faced by community oncologists in conducting cooperative group clinical trials, lessons being learned from the S1400 Lung-MAP master protocol as the first of the NCI's precision cancer medicine studies, visions for cooperative group research on rare cancers, how we might make better use of social media to advance oncology research goals, increased attention to adolescents and young adults as a distinct cancer patient population with specialized needs, long-term use of data and biospecimens from cancer control and prevention studies (particularly around issues of genomics testing and opportunities for personalized treatment), and the globalization of the cooperative group system.

This Seminars issue represents an extraordinary opportunity to highlight how our members and our member institutions -- and our sister cooperative groups -- are adapting in a time of great change, in the arena of publicly funded cancer research. More in future editions of Front Line, after the issue comes out in February.


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