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

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Cancer Care Delivery Research at SWOG

Aug 29, 2014 - SWOG's application for a Research Base grant in the new NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) -- the successor to the CCOP program -- has been funded! Today I want to highlight our Cancer Care Delivery Research Program, a component which fared "exceptionally" well in the review of that grant application.

The Cancer Care Delivery (CCD) Program and Committee have been established under Co-Chairs Dawn Hershman and Scott Ramsey, with Joe Unger and Bill Barlow as Statisticians. Central to this Committee's genesis has been the vision of SWOG-level leadership -- specifically that of Associate Chair Frank Meyskens and Executive Officer Craig Nichols. Dr. Meyskens has emphasized the need for a CCD research team that goes beyond the conventional clinician researcher and statistician to include expertise in other areas, ranging from comparative effectiveness research to social media. In fact, SWOG's CCD external advisory group also includes representatives from the pharmaceutical, policy making, regulatory, insurance, and patient advocacy realms.

The CCD Program's mission is to improve the quality of cancer care and reduce health care disparities via clinical, epidemiological, and translational research. Within this mission, the group works along three primary lines: 1) improving the quality and delivery of cancer care; 2) developing novel approaches to comparative effectiveness studies; and 3) improving outcomes and access to care for underserved populations. In addition to the SWOG studies directly under its purview -- S1105, S1204, and S1407 -- the Committee is also a key player in the CANCERGEN initiative (with comparative effectiveness components on two major breast cancer studies), in the PCORI-funded project to bring broader stakeholder input and value of information methodology to priority-setting in cancer research, and in an R01-funded project using SWOG and Medicare data to evaluate long-term treatment toxicities in cancer survivors. This last is among a group of projects that glean valuable medical knowledge by linking the vast stores of health data held by SWOG, Medicare, SEER, and the Cancer Research Network.

There's exciting CCD work in the pipeline as well: a study to improve the way Colony Stimulating Factor is used in cancer treatment, collaborations with our GU Committee on a prostate cancer active surveillance study and with our Pharmaceutical Sciences Committee to enhance patient adherence to oral chemotherapy, development of a Toxicity Burden Score to better quantify harmful side effects in future chemotherapy trials, ... and more.

We have real expertise, already established in the CCD arena. With our core team of investigators being among the most dynamic and prolific in all of NCORP, I expect SWOG to help set the standard for Cancer Care Delivery research for years to come.


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