Generation of Progress 

In the 30 years since The Hope Foundation for Cancer Research was established, the cancer death rate in the United States has dropped 30 percent – which translates into more than 3 million deaths avoided. Much of this success was driven by research.


  • First board of directors elected in Denver, Colorado
  • IRS receives request for nonprofit status
  • Office opened in San Antonio, Texas
  • SWOG launches the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial


  • First pharma grants are received from Bristol Meyers Squibb, Immunex, and Rhone-Poulenc
  • The FDA establishes the Office of Women’s Health to promote participation in clinical trials


  • SWOG launches its first website
  • The tumor suppressor gene BRCA2 is cloned; The previous year, BRCA1 was cloned.


  • The FDA approves anastrozole, the first aromatase inhibitor approved for cancer therapy.


  • The FDA approves rituximab, the first monoclonal antibody approved for cancer therapy.
  • The National Cancer Institute creates the Cancer Genome Anatomy Project, championed by Vice President Al Gore, an online database on normal, pre-cancerous and cancerous genomes aimed at characterizing cancer on a molecular level.


  • Brian D. Chavez hired as executive vice president and chief executive officer.
  • Chavez changes the name to The Hope Foundation.
  • Results of the NCI-sponsored Breast Cancer Prevention Trial show that the anti-estrogen drug tamoxifen can reduce the incidence of breast cancer among women who are at increased risk of the disease by about 50 percent.


  • Ortho Biotech becomes original sponsor of the Young Investigator Training Course.   


  • First Young Investigator Training Course Held


  • SWOG launches Clinical Trials Training Course for clinical research associates.
  • Results of a clinical trial show that the drug imatinib mesylate is effective against chronic myelogenous leukemia, changing the usually fatal disease into a manageable condition.



  • Hope funds a research summit in Japan, its first international effort, and a conference in Hawaii with Japanese researchers. A young investigator named Charles Blanke was in attendance.
  • Results of SWOG’s Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial show that the drug finasteride lowers a man’s risk of prostate cancer by about 25 percent.



  • Laurence Baker, DO, becomes SWOG group chair.
  • Hope offices move to Ann Arbor, Michigan.
  • Group statistician appointed as a permanent member of the Hope board.
  • SWOG establishes its biospecimen bank.


  • SWOG begins enrolling more than 5,000 patients a year.
  • FDA approves the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil, which protects against infection by the two HPV types that cause approximately 70 percent of cervical cancer cases.


  • Charles A. Coltman retires after 44 years with SWOG.
  • Charles A. Coltman Jr. Fellowship is established.
  • Jo Horn elected Hope executive director.


  • Hope and SWOG financial staff move offices
  • Assistant to the Foundation Director is hired 


  • Approval of the transfer of the subcontract for SWOG’s Operations Office to Hope.


  • Hope governance committee created
  • Hope legally establishes SWOG-CTI (Later, SWOG Clinical Trials Partnerships) LLC
  • SWOG drops “Southwest” from its name
  • Initial results of the NCI-sponsored Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST) show that screening with low-dose helical computerized tomography (CT) reduced lung cancer deaths by about 20% in a large group of current and former heavy smokers.
  • FDA approves the first human cancer treatment vaccine for metastatic prostate cancer that no longer responds to hormonal therapy.


  • Hope earns a 4-star Charity Navigator rating for the first time  
  • Hope applies to be an ACCME-accredited continuing medical education (CME) provider  
  • Impact Award program launches (under original name: Development Award program)
  • FDA approves the use of ipilimumab, a monoclonal antibody, for the treatment of inoperable or metastatic melanoma. Ipilimumab stimulates the immune system to attack cancer cells by removing a “brake” that normally controls the intensity of immune responses.


  • Charles Blanke, MD, is elected as new SWOG Chair  
  • Increased transparency and professionalism to Board – proposed amendments to bylaws: Establish emeritus, non-voting board member, include new SWOG chair as board member, include finance and governance committees, board evaluation of executive director, term limits for board members



  • First Integrated Translational Science Center (ITSC) grants awarded, ushering in exciting collaboration between SWOG clinicians and partners at CSHL and JAX
  • First SWOG Early Exploration and Development (SEED) Fund grants awarded ($50K grants for preliminary research projects)
  • First SWOG Trial Support (STrS) grants awarded, providing supplemental funds for critical trial needs
  • FDA approves pembrolizumab for the treatment of advanced melanoma. This monoclonal antibody blocks the activity of a protein called PD1 on immune cells, which increases the strength of immune responses against cancer.


  • First VA Integration Awards granted, marking a major commitment to enroll military veterans in cancer clinical trials
  • First Secondary Data Analyses conducted through special program leveraging SWOG trial data
  • Dr. Blanke climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro; aims to mobilize support for the NCTN; reaches summit February 2015; campaign raises $110,000
  • NCI and the ECOG-ACRIN launch the NCI-MATCH clinical trial to test more than 20 drugs and drug combinations based on molecular analysis of tumors in people with cancer.


  • Hope opens call for “Great Ideas” funding proposals
  • Hope debuts the virtual grant writing workshop
  • Hope helps SWOG celebrate 60 years by partnering with StoryCorps to share the experiences of patients, advocates, and investigators across the group
  • Vice President Joe Biden launches the Cancer Moonshot to accelerate progress in cancer research and cancer care


  • SWOG issues its first annual Impact Report
  • NCI and the Children’s Oncology Group launch Pediatric MATCH, an effort to extend molecular analysis and targeted treatment to children and adolescents with cancer.
  • FDA approves two chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies, which are personalized for each patient, for acute lymphoblastic leukemia and large B-cell lymphomas
  • FDA clears two products to test tumors for genetic changes that may make the tumors susceptible to treatment with FDA-approved molecularly targeted drugs.


  • Dr. Charles Coltman, Jr. passes away
  • SWOG’s first disease monitoring study is launched, Trial S1703, by Dr. Melissa Accordino (former Coltman Fellow)
  • The palliative and end of life care committee is established with support from Hope; it is the first of its kind in the NCI’s National Clinical Trials Network
  • Results from the NCI-sponsored Trial Assigning IndividuaLized Options for Treatment (Rx), or TAILORx, clinical trial show that most women with early-stage breast cancer do not benefit from having chemotherapy after surgery.
  • Research published by Dr. Joe Unger, SWOG biostatistician and health services researcher, showed that the differences in survival rates between rural and urban patients is significantly reduced when enrolled in a cancer clinical trial. This research received national media coverage.
  • SWOG stats and data management center earned a stellar NCTN grant renewal score of 12 – the best score ever earned by any stats or ops group in our network  
  • Hope updates its name and brand: The Hope Foundation for Cancer Research


  • With Hope support, SWOG launches the community advocate program
  • The Hope-supported SWOG Latin America Initiative marks its 10th anniversary
  • Career Engagement Awards (CEA) launch, to support mid-career researchers through salary support for SWOG research efforts
  • The Hope Foundation pledges a multi-year $1 million grant to support the SWOG Statistics Center based at Fred Hutch


  • Hope announces the John Crowley Award, encouraging statistical excellence in clinical trials
  • A consortium of international researchers analyzes more than 2,600 whole genomes from 38 types of cancer and matching normal tissues to identify common patterns of molecular changes, a project known as the Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes study. 


  • Hope partners with pharma, especially with support from Genentech, to launch NCORP Pilot Grant program to further DEI within SWOG’s network
  • Patricia Robinson, MD receives a DEI Career Development Award, Hope’s first career development award with a focus on enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in clinical trials.
  • The NCI celebrates the 50th anniversary of the National Cancer Act of 1971.


  • Dr. Don Dizon elected first vice chair for diversity, equity, inclusion, and professional integrity
  • Patient advocate team expands to 27 members
  • South Texas Veterans Health Care System receives the first VA Storefront Support Program
  • Young Investigator Training Course becomes Early Stage Investigator Training Course
  • President Joe Biden reignites the Cancer Moonshot, with a goal of reducing the death rate by at least 50 percent in the next 25 years.