SAA Funding Contributes to FDA Approval of KEYTRUDA

For the first time, the FDA has approved a drug—KEYTRUDA—for cancer-based disease genetics rather than the site of a tumor. KEYTRUDA now can be used for colon, pancreatic, stomach, ovarian and other cancers if genetic testing reveals defects in so-called mismatch repair. The clinical trials for KEYTRUDA were conducted at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute. The testimonial letter from Johns Hopkins acknowledges that in 2009, Swim Across America was the first organization to believe in the KEYTRUDA research project and provide grant funding for KEYTRUDA clinical trials. In total, over $2.6 million in proceeds from SAA—Baltimore have funded clinical trials and lifesaving research at Johns Hopkins.
Merck issued a press release quoting Swim Across America for providing grant funding for KEYTRUDA clinical trials that helped lead to FDA approval:
“Swim Across America’s mission is to help advance cancer research,” said Rob Butcher, CEO of Swim Across America. “We are honored that our organization supported some of the initial research conducted by Dr. Diaz and team, which has now contributed to the approval of KEYTRUDA for this new indication.”
As a Swim Across America supporter, it’s important you know the impact of our cause. Testimonials from our beneficiaries are published and we encourage you share them with your supporters.
Dr. Luis Diaz at SAA – Baltimore Open Water Swim

SAA – Tampa Hits $1 Million Donated to Moffitt Cancer Center

Unsafe ocean conditions moved SAA – Tampa to the indoor pool. The event still made waves for Moffitt Cancer Center and raise over $200,000 to fight cancer and hit the $1 million cumulative fundraising mark.

Enjoy video from the event below and thanks to all participants, volunteers and donors for helping achieve such an impressive total! See everyone at Clearwater Beach in 2018!

SAA – Atlanta Beneficiary Publishes Ewing Sarcoma Research

Published research leads to sharing of information which can lead to new cures to fight cancer. Swim Across America – Atlanta beneficiary researcher Dr. Thomas Cash gives credit to Swim Across America for funding his research on the correlation of Ezrin Expression Pattern and Clinical Outcomes in Ewing Sarcoma.

The authors acknowledge the Emory + Children’s Pediatric Research Biostatistics Core for their assistance with this manuscript. Research support was provided by Swim Across America and the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Foundation/Scott Shockley Family.


25 Years of SAA – Long Island Sound History

2017 will mark SAA – Long Island Sound’s 25th year raising money to fight cancer through research, as well as provide for those who are going through treatment. We give thanks to all of you who have partnered with us throughout the years to make this event such a success. Below is a compilation of all historical photos, videos and flyers. We hope you’ll join us again this year to celebrate our 25th Anniversary. All historical photo albums can be found here.











2017 Captain’s Dinner Kickoff

Research from SAA-Baltimore beneficiary Johns Hopkins recognized

When Johns Hopkins scientists Bert Vogelstein, Ken Kinzler, Luis Diaz and their colleagues linked certain cancers to mutations in genes that repair DNA, they may not have imagined that their findings would spark an idea that has become a crystal ball for predicting whether immunotherapy is more likely to work in a person with cancer. The $3 million in grant funding over the last decade from Swim Across America – Baltimore has played a major role in funding their idea of “mismatch repair” so more families can have hope.

Now, their work is being featured in the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Clinical Advances 2017 and you can read more about the accomplishments here and watch the patient perspective below.

Hard SAA Work Pays Off at Beneficiary Check Presentations

Swim Across America celebrated the end of the year across the country by presenting checks to our esteemed beneficiaries. Here is a collection of smiling faces as the hard fundraising work is now seeing its impact multiplied in the fight against cancer.

SAA – Tampa at Moffitt Cancer Center
SAA – Dallas at Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center
SAA – Nantucket at Nantucket Cottage Hospital and Palliative and Support Care of Nantucket
SAA – Seattle at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
SAA – Baltimore at The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins


Supporting Promising Trials in Seattle

The following was shared by Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

SAA – Seattle Volunteers and Participants visit the Swim Across America-Cellular Therapy Lab at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

In the past few years, immunotherapy has produced unprecedented breakthroughs in cancer research. SCCA’s Swim Across America Cell Therapy Laboratory (SAA-CTL) is at the leading edge of this work and SAA-Seattle funding has been critical in supporting the clinical trials that bring this research to patients. SAA-Seattle grants allow us to train technologists in the theory and practice of complex cell processing methods and helps provide sophisticated instrumentation required for these methods. An example of our SAA-Seattle funded research is the Chimeric Antigen T Cell Receptor (CAR T) immunotherapy, which involves selecting and genetically modifying certain lymphocytes to be able to recognize and kill tumor cells. In 2014, SAA-Seattle grants enabled us to initiate the first CAR T clinical trial at SCCA. This trial has produced remarkable results: the complete remission (CR) rate in refractory (unresponsive to other therapies) B Cell Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia was 94% and the CR rate in refractory Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma was 64%. This profound success allowed additional patients to be treated, including 35 new patients in 2016. Three more trials using similar technology are beginning in 2017.

SAA-Seattle has played a vital role in supporting groundbreaking research at SCCA. Thanks to SAA-Seattle funding, we have become a center of excellence for selecting particular cells that contribute to an “anti-cancer” effect while removing the other cells (naïve T lymphocytes) that can cause graft vs host disease. This concept has been a sort of holy grail for the treatment of hematological malignancies (certain types of leukemia) through transplantation and trials supported by SAA-Seattle funds have shown extraordinary results. These naïve T cell depletion and CAR T study results have been published in top tier journals.

We hope you’ll join us this September 9th at the 2017 SAA – Seattle open water swim to ‘Make Waves to Fight Cancer.’