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

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NCORP contributions to SWOG are growing

Sep 4, 2015 - Last week in Bethesda, some of the nation's best community cancer researchers came together for the annual meeting of the NCI Community Oncology Research Program, or NCORP.

Researchers came from the Rocky Mountain foothills of Colorado, the Red Hills of Georgia, and the rich farmlands of Iowa. SWOG was represented by a national contingent: Drs. Frank Meyskens from California, Craig Nichols from Oregon, Scott Ramsey from Washington, and Dawn Hershman from New York, as well as Nathan Eriksen, our group administrator, from Michigan.

Dr. Meyskens, SWOG's vice chair for NCORP, said its impact on SWOG is clear. "NCORP sites," he says, "are essential for developing those preventive and treatment therapies that will improve our management of cancers in a substantive manner."

Let's let the numbers speak.

NCORP-affiliated hospitals and physician groups have enrolled 62 percent of patients now in Lung-MAP -- SWOG's boldest study and one of the NCI's first precision medicine trials. Lung-MAP's cousin, ALCHEMIST, run by ECOG-ACRIN, can thank NCORP sites for 44 percent of its accrual. And, the NCI noted at the annual meeting, NCORP sites are enthusiastically enrolling in NCI-MATCH, the just-launched, DNA-driven precision trial testing treatments on a variety of tumor types.

NCORP logo In Bethesda, the NCI announced the launch of a new badge that NCORP sites will fly under. Here's the preview.

At SWOG, our NCORP ranks are growing. Besides the NCORP Research Base itself, NCORP community hospitals, networks, and practices with SWOG membership now total 607. Of the 46 NCORP consortia, 26 are SWOG members. In July, we welcomed the Carle Cancer Center NCORP from Illinois, and last week welcomed Essentia Health NCORP based in Minnesota.

And SWOG's portfolio has evolved to include more studies in cancer control and prevention and cancer care delivery -- research areas under the NCORP umbrella.

In recognition of program's increasing impact, we're holding a new NCORP research workshop next month at our fall meeting in Chicago, covering everything from history and organization to data collection and forms submission. Want to suggest a topic? Contact cancercontrolquestion@crab.org. It's filling fast so register now.

Historically, within the cooperative groups, our NCORP partners haven't always gotten the respect they've earned. This is a grave mistake. The NCORP structure ensures that patients can get the latest drugs in their communities (not to mention the best care) by enrolling in national clinical trials. And NCORP makes our research better. Our trials accrue faster and better reflect America in all its diversity -- racial, ethnic, geographic, economic. And better research leads to better treatments.

NCORP, quite simply, helps us achieve our goal of helping our patients.


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