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

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Fall 2014 Group Meeting in Chicago: Opportunities²

Sep 5, 2014 - SWOG's fall 2014 live meeting is rapidly approaching, and if you haven't done so yet, now's the time to register and reserve your hotel room. We've introduced some popular new features at each recent Group Meeting, and this time around is no exception. More specifically, we continue to listen to your requests, and we strive to provide sessions and opportunities that will enhance your work in cancer care and cancer research.

First, in conjunction with The Hope Foundation, we are starting something brand new. For the first time, we will be hosting a SWOG/Hope Donor Lounge (taking our cue from the very successful and useful ASCO Conquer Cancer Foundation Donor Lounge). If you have contributed to The Hope Foundation, your registration badge will feature a colorful ribbon identifying you as a donor. That ribbon allows you entrance to the Donor Lounge, centrally located near the SWOG registration desk. The Lounge features comfortable seats, snacks, coffee, and free Wi-Fi. Open all day and evening during the Group Meeting, it's a place to hold meetings, or to just sit, relax, and catch up on your email. Remember, the price of admission is simply a Hope Foundation donation you're likely to make anyway!

Building on Dr. Ellis' very popular initiative and as in past meetings, we will offer office hours with various leaders and experts from within and outside of SWOG, available either by appointment (Friday morning) or on a walk-in basis (Friday afternoon). We also have several informational round tables scheduled; seating is limited, so sign up early. In inviting industry experts to hold office hours, our sole criterion is whether the organization has research resources of particular interest to SWOG investigators. At past group meetings we focused on those with promising new agents in the pipeline, but this time we've also invited a couple of organizations with widely used biomarker assays.

A round table session on Career Development Opportunities in the Experimental Therapeutics and Rare Cancers Committee, with Chair Razelle Kurzrock, will give SWOG members their first detailed look at the ambitious agenda of this newly expanded committee. (Fri, 10:30-11:30 a.m.)

Larry Baker and Manuel Valdivieso, leaders of SWOG's global initiatives, will hold a round table discussion on international trial participation, which will cover opportunities for global health study in Latin America, challenges and lessons learned participating in international trials, and some background on how SWOG's international sites came to participate in SWOG studies. Space is limited, so sign up early via the group meeting registration form. (Fri, 2-3 p.m.)

A symposium on Collaborative Opportunities Between SWOG and the Cold Spring Harbor and Jackson Laboratories will present opportunities for researchers interested in applying for Integrated Translational Science Center support for pilot projects that bring together a CSHL or JAX lab scientist with a SWOG clinical investigator. (Fri, 12-1:30 p.m.) After the symposium, two of the presenters -- CSHL's David Tuveson and JAX's Kevin Mills -- will hold one-on-one office hours by appointment. I encourage you to attend the symposium to learn more about the wonderful resources these two institutions have to offer, then schedule an office-hours appointment to discuss potential collaborations. (Fri, 1:30-3:30 p.m.)

As they did at the spring meeting, Nationwide's Nilsa Ramirez and SWOG's Nathan Eriksen will hold office hours to discuss SWOG's Biorepository services and how to gain access to specimens. This time, though, Biorepository office hours are by appointment only. (Fri, 10-11:40 a.m.)

Mike Wu, one of the newest statisticians at the SWOG Statistical Center, and a specialist in genomics, high-dimensional statistics, and pathway inference, will hold open office hours on the Analysis and Design of Genomic Studies. (Fri, 10-11:30 a.m.)

Finally, one of SWOG's most critical roles, and one that I relish, is training and nurturing the next generation of leaders in clinical cancer research. With this in mind, Cathy Eng, SWOG PI at MD Anderson, will lead a round table session on Navigating SWOG for Young Investigators. Space at this round table is limited, so sign up when you register for the meeting. (Fri, 10:30-11:30 a.m.)

Be sure to check out these other Group Meeting opportunities as well:

  • A session for NCORP (formerly CCOP) principal investigators (Sat, 9:30-10:30 a.m.)
  • A training session for the new S1316 malignant bowel obstruction trial (Fri, 2:45-7 p.m.)
  • An update session on the S1400 Lung-MAP study (Fri, 6-7 p.m.)
  • A Plenary I session with keynote talks on targeting cancer stem cells and MEK targeting (Thur, 2:30-4:30 p.m.)
  • A Plenary II session with keynote speaker Angela Bradbury presenting on the ethical aspects of genetic testing in clinical-translational research (NEW TIME: Fri, 8-10 a.m.)
  • An Oishi Symposium covering topics related to the NCI's precision cancer medicine studies, such as Lung-MAP (Thur, 8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.)

And of course we're holding a Translational Medicine Retreat on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, but no doubt you've already read (and re-read) all about this in my earlier Front Line column on the topic.

I started this week's column thinking it would be one of my shorter ones. Instead, given the wealth of opportunities slated for the fall Group Meeting, I believe it is the lengthiest yet. I can't quite bring myself to apologize, though! See you in October.


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