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J Cancer Educ. 2006 Summer;21(2):77-9.

Cancer research training: the Southwest Oncology Group young investigator training program (YITP).

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology-Oncology, University of Cincinnati, USA.



Recognizing the growing need for an infusion of new investigators into the cancer researchers, and realizing that well-trained cancer researchers are a dying breed, the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) initiated the Young Investigator Training Program (YITP) in 1999, supported by the Hope Foundation. The first author was one of four applicants accepted in 2004 and is reporting on this experience.


After a rigorous and competitive application process, four physicians beginning their career in Hematology-Oncology are chosen each year. Each investigator would have submitted an original research concept. Each class receives intensive training in statistical principles, data collection and analysis, critical decision making, and protocol development guidelines. Each investigator spends 4 days at the SWOG operations office in San Antonio, Texas, and 4 days at the statistical center in Seattle, Washington.


As part of the training course, each investigator will design a clinical protocol that will be reviewed by the appropriate disease committees within SWOG. Once approved, it will be submitted to the National Cancer Institute for further review. The four investigators will receive a certificate at the successful completion of the training course and will be recognized at the group meeting. With the class of 2004, 31 investigators will have joined the ranks of seasoned researchers. Fifteen protocols have been introduced and activated at institutions across the United States. Four other protocols are in various stages of the development and approval process.


The Hope Foundation sponsored SWOG YITP is a unique opportunity. It allows participants to acquire a thorough understanding of the conduct of cancer clinical trials through SWOG. Large institutions are urged to continue sponsoring similar programs. This will build an infrastructure of well-trained cancer researchers to foster and continue the progress achieved in cancer research.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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