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

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Reflecting on Our Past, Investing in Our Future

April 1, 2016 - When we gather together in San Francisco at the end of this new month, we will kick off our 60th anniversary celebration. Big milestones invite reflection – on what we’ve done and what we still must do to fulfill our mission to effectively prevent and treat cancer. We’ll look both directions at the spring group meeting.

At our general plenary, Dr. David Gandara, SWOG senior advisor and the former longstanding lung committee chair, will highlight SWOG’s impact on cancer research and medicine, as well as forecast our future progress. Dr. Richard Schilsky, ASCO's chief medical officer and its former president, and as well as the past CALGB chair, will broaden the lens and discuss all the National Clinical Trials Network contributions to publicly funded oncology research, plus a variety of promising new approaches being taken up throughout the network.

At the translational medicine plenary, we’ll welcome tumor biology and biotech pioneer Dr. Frank McCormick. McCormick leads the NCI’s RAS Initiative at the Frederick National Laboratories for Cancer Research. McCormick has studied the RAS family of genes and their mutations, which cause about 30 percent of all cancers – including one of our deadliest malignancies, pancreatic cancer, for more than 30 years. McCormick will lay out developments and potential advancements in this important area. Please don’t miss it.

We’ll also be kicking off a truly exciting campaign in San Francisco. The Hope Foundation, our beloved charity, has invested an astounding $30 million in SWOG research since our founding. Now, Hope is issuing a challenge. If together we raise $100,000 in 2016, Hope will match that dollar-for-dollar, leading to a total of $200,000 to support young investigators.

Every penny of the $200,000 will be invested in SWOG members at the start of their research career. That includes the Young Investigator Training Course, the Dr. Charles A. Coltman Jr. Fellowship Program, the inaugural Leadership Development program and more. Nothing is more important than attracting and supporting the next generation of cancer researchers, who will fuel the next generation of cancer breakthroughs.

So, let’s get ready for a great group meeting. If you haven’t registered, do so now at SWOG.org. See you by the Bay!


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