The Southwest Oncology Group, or SWOG, has increased this year’s grant funding to City of Hope by 40 percent, the first time the organization has increased its funding to the institution so significantly.
SWOG is one of the largest cancer clinical trials cooperative groups supported by the National Cancer Institute. Its more than 5,000 participating physician-researchers practice at more than 570 institutions. City of Hope is one of 19 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers in the group.
|Joanne Mortimer is principal investigator on the Southwest Oncology Group grant. (Photo by Walter Urie)|
The group increased funding to City of Hope from about $285,000 in 2009 to $400,000 in 2010, according to Joanne Mortimer, M.D., vice chair and professor in the Department of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research. These grant dollars support vital clinical research.
SWOG boosted its funding because City of Hope consistently enrolls 80 to 100 patients each year in the group’s studies, a substantial proportion, said Mortimer, who is principal investigator for the SWOG grant at City of Hope. Around the country, more than 6,000 cancer patients and healthy participants sign up for SWOG studies each year.
“When we enroll so many patients in SWOG clinical trials, both patients and science stand to benefit. The increased funding is not only a testament to our increased annual accrual but also to the quality of the research efforts at City of Hope, including areas such as regulatory oversight, research nursing and outstanding data management,” said Robert Figlin, M.D., Arthur and Rosalie Kaplan Professor in Medical Oncology and chair of the Department of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research.
City of Hope physicians also hold important leadership roles in the organization. Stephen J. Forman, M.D., Francis and Kathleen McNamara Distinguished Chair in Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation, is chair of the group’s bone marrow and stem cell committee, while Lucille Leong, M.D., professor of medical oncology, is an auditor for the group. Numerous faculty members from the departments of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation and Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research serve on SWOG’s disease-specific committees.
At any give time, 100 SWOG clinical trials are open across the country addressing cancers in adults including breast, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, gynecologic and lung cancers, as well as melanoma, myeloma, leukemia and lymphoma. During the last 25 years, according to SWOG, more than 170,000 patients have directly benefited from the group’s trials, while millions more received improved care as new standards of treatment or prevention are developed by the group.