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SWOG cancer trials network awarded over $120 million in NCI grants

ANN ARBOR, Mich. Noting that the organization's research "has touched the lives of virtually every adult cancer patient in this nation," the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has renewed the Southwest Oncology Group's operating grants for six years, with a total funding package over that period expected to exceed $120 million.

The award was announced at a Friday press briefing by Group Executive Officer Anne F. Schott, M.D., and Michigan Congressman John Dingell.

The Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) is a clinical research cooperative group that designs and conducts large-scale trials of new cancer treatments and prevention regimens. The Group is headquartered at the University of Michigan, but its network of almost 5,000 affiliated researchers and more than 500 institutions, including 19 of the NCI-designated cancer centers, extends across the U.S. and into several other countries.

"We're proud to be first among the ten NCI cooperative groups to embrace and to be funded for comparative effectiveness research as part of our mission," says SWOG Group Chair Laurence H. Baker, D.O., referring to recent Group initiatives to develop more formal methods of identifying which studies will have the greatest clinical benefit. Baker is professor of internal medicine and pharmacology at the University of Michigan Medical School.

The principal grant, more than $63 million, will be administered by the University of Michigan Medical School and is the largest single research award ever to that school. Most of the remainder of the NCI package will be distributed directly to the Group's member institutions.

The NCI committee that reviewed the grant application praised the Group's "outstanding record of productivity," citing the more than 300 peer-reviewed publications that document SWOG trial results during the previous five-year grant cycle.

The grant package supports the Group's Ann Arbor headquarters, its operations office in San Antonio, and its statistical center in Seattle. But the majority of the funds go to member institutions nationwide, helping them defray the cost of bringing patients into clinical trials and supporting investigators leading those trials.


Contact: Frank DeSanto
University of Michigan Health System

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