UM-based Southwest Oncology Group becomes SWOG

Regional focus of cooperative group's name no longer fit national character of the network

added 4/12/2011

Ann Arbor - In spite of the regional reference in its name, the Southwest Oncology Group has been headquartered at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor since 2005. Long a national rather than regional network, this National Cancer Institute (NCI)-supported clinical trials cooperative group has now dropped the "southwest" and officially changed its name to "SWOG."

UM-based Southwest Oncology Group becomes SWOG
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"It's what most of the research world and many of the patients who participate in our trials already know us as," says SWOG Chair Laurence Baker, D.O., professor of internal medicine and pharmacology at U-M.

"The group was founded in Texas in 1956 and for many years had a membership heavily concentrated in the southwestern United States," he adds. "But for several decades now we've been a national organization and in recent years even international, so continuing to refer to ourselves as the 'southwest' oncology group was misleading."

Leading cancer research. Together.

A survey of the group's membership of almost 9,000 research professionals resulted in a new tag line to go along with the name change. The line succinctly conveys what SWOG does and how it does it: Leading cancer research. Together.

"'Together' is key," says Baker. "The cooperative groups invented team science, and this team approach, with investigators and member sites spread all over the country and beyond, is the secret to our success."

SWOG is one of the largest cancer clinical trial cooperative groups in the United States. Funded primarily by the National Cancer Institute, the group designs and conducts trials to improve the practice of medicine in preventing, detecting, and treating cancer, and to enhance the quality of life for cancer survivors. The more than 4,000 physician-researchers in the group's network practice at more than 500 institutions, including 19 of the NCI-designated cancer centers.

In addition to its Ann Arbor headquarters, SWOG has an operations office in San Antonio, Texas, and a statistical center in Seattle, Wash. Learn more at


Written by Frank DeSanto; contact by Phone: 734-764-2220 or E-mail:

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