SWOG Cancer Research Network is a part of the nation’s oldest and largest publicly funded cancer research network.
Texas pediatrician Grant Taylor, MD, founded the group in Houston in 1956 under a new National Cancer Institute program aimed at testing childhood cancer treatments through regional physician networks. That’s how we got our original name—the Southwest Cancer Chemotherapy Study Group, which later become the Southwest Oncology Group, which was shortened to SWOG, then changed to SWOG Cancer Research Network in 2018.
What started with one man in Texas has grown into a cancer research community that includes more than 12,000 people at over 1,000 hospitals, clinics, and cancer centers worldwide.
Today, SWOG is a major part of the cancer research infrastructure in the United States and the world. SWOG has members in 47 states and eight other countries as part of the NCI’s National Clinical Trials Network, or NCTN. To see a timeline of our research milestones over the decades, and get a sense of our impact, visit our website.
Our clinical trials have:
- Led to the approval of 14 new cancer drugs
- Changed the standards of cancer care more than 100 times, and
- Saved more than 3 million years of human life
- Built a bio-repository of over 900,000 biological samples that can be used for additional research
SWOG is an innovative force in cancer research. The group is a leader in patient advocacy, with the largest and most sophisticated advocate team in the NCTN, which provide a patient perspective as we design and manage our trials, and share our results with the public. You can meet our patient advocates here. SWOG also is a leader in the NCTN in plain language, digital engagement, and diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts that strive to make members of the group, and the patients we enrolls in our trials, more representative of the nation.
In 2014, SWOG launched Lung-MAP – the first of NCI’s precision medicine trials for lung cancer and one of the very first master protocol trials in cancer. Lung-MAP is a unique public-private partnership launched with the NCI, Friends of Cancer Research, and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.
SWOG has also pioneered cancer prevention research, including running the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial, known as SELECT. The trial involved enrolling over 35,000 men at over 400 sites—many of them Black men. SWOG also conceived and managed the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, which found that finasteride, a common hormone-blocking drug, reduces men’s risk of getting prostate cancer without increasing their risk of dying from the disease. SWOG also sponsors the Dual Anti-CTLA-4 & Anti-PD-1 blockade in Rare Tumors, or DART trial, a ground-breaking rare cancers trial.
SWOG has served as a leading advocate to improve cancer trial access for military veterans, and in 2015 launched the VA Integration Support Program with its public charity, The Hope Foundation for Cancer Research. The VA Integration Support Program has given out over $700,000 to 20 VA sites across the country in an effort to support the research infrastructure needed to offer SWOG and other cancer clinical trials.
SWOG also manages SWOG Clinical Trials Partnerships, an independent, limited liability company that collaborates with industry to conduct cancer clinical trials.