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

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Getting Closer to Celebrating 60

August 12, 2016 - If you’ve got plans to attend our fall meeting in Chicago, which runs Sept. 14-17, book now. Rooms at the Hyatt Regency are filling fast! There’s a reason: This meeting will go down in SWOG history as one of our most significant.

To mark our 60th anniversary, we’re mounting an interactive exhibit on our history and impact, complete with audio stories from members. Staff from StoryCorps, the national oral history project, will be on hand to record some more – all of which will soon be available on our new website. We’re expanding our Friday reception – our best chance to mingle with members – with champagne, cake, and a special toast to long-time SWOG members. We’ll be snapping selfies, giving away goodies, and collecting your ideas for SWOG’s next 60 years.

We’ve also got great speakers for the meeting itself.

For Plenary I, Dr. Lee Ellis, SWOG’s Vice Chair for Translational Medicine, has invited Dr. Arul Chinnaiyan from University of Michigan to discuss advances in precision oncology and Carol Weil, J.D., of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to talk about ethical dilemmas in genomic medicine. Leaders from our powerhouse translational medicine partners, Dr. David Tuveson from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Dr. Edison Liu from The Jackson Laboratory, will review innovations from our Integrated Translational Science Center Program (ITSC) and discuss current progress.

For Plenary II, Dr. Jeff Abrams, acting director of clinical research and associate director of the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program at the NCI, and Dr. Sheila Prindiville, director of the NCI’s Coordinating Center for Clinical Trials, will host a town hall on the new National Clinical Trials Network. They want to get your insights on how the two-year-old network is working. We’ll shift from present to future when our first plenary Dr. Harry E. Hynes Speaker, Dr. Patricia Ganz from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, addresses the new era of survivorship research. It’s a critical topic. The number of Americans with a history of cancer will hit an astounding 26.1 million by 2040. That’s nearly double the current number of U.S. survivors.

We’ll end the general plenary with a VIP – very important patient. (Of course, all of our patients are important!) Bladder cancer survivor Craig Blanford, treated by SWOG’s own Dr. Ian Thompson in Texas, will talk about his cancer journey and how a treatment pioneered by SWOG has given him time to raise his three children.

Having a patient on that 60th anniversary plenary stage – and others featured in our exhibit – was especially important to me. Extending and improving the lives of people with cancer of course is what we’re here for. It’s why we’ve worked so hard for so long. And I know we’ve had a real impact on real people – our neighbors, our co-workers, our family and friends. Cancer affects just about everyone, and, for 60 years, we’ve been looking for ways to make a difference.

In summary, I am really looking forward to celebrating with you. For meeting details, go here See you in Chicago!


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