News Release

Swim Across America provides grant funding that helps lead to 100% cancer remission

Swim Across America provided grant funding for trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering on dostarlimab immunotherapy for advanced rectal cancer

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Swim Across America

Dr Luis Diaz

image: Dr. Luis Diaz of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. view more 

Credit: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

The New England Journal of Medicine published a paper on June 5 that 12 patients completed a phase 2 clinical trial for advanced rectal cancer and showed a 100% clinical complete response to dostarlimab, an immunotherapy treatment produced by GlaxoSmithKline. The clinical trial was conducted at Memorial Sloan Kettering with early-stage grant funding from Swim Across America.


Reviews of the clinical trial and quotes in the New York Times from cancer experts are hopeful:


“I believe this (a 100% response) is the first time this has happened in the history of cancer,” commented Dr. Luis Diaz, an author of the New England Journal of Medicine paper.


“There were a lot of happy tears,” said Dr. Andrea Cercek, an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a co-author of the paper.


Depending on patient size and other factors, the cost to run a clinical trial can run into millions of dollars. Early-stage sponsors such as Swim Across America are necessary to fund the costs. Swim Across America’s grant for the MSK clinical trial helped fund the science and speed of sharing of information. Other funding partners of the MSK clinical trial are the Simon and Eve Colin Foundation, GlaxoSmithKline, Stand Up to Cancer, and the National Cancer Institute. Swim Across America is delighted with the results and continues to provide grant support.


Swim Across America’s grant agreement with beneficiaries such as Memorial Sloan Kettering requires that 100 percent of a Swim Across America grant must be spent on approved research and clinical trial programs. In 35-years, Swim Across America has granted nearly $100M to innovative and otherwise unfunded ideas so that the time of oncologists such as Dr. Cercek and Dr. Diaz is protected to make progress and develop new treatments.


Swim Across America has a proven track record of identifying and funding early-stage ideas of promise. Swim Across America grants have played a major role in clinically developing FDA-approved immunotherapy treatments ipilimumab (YERVOY), nivolumab (OPDIVO), pembrolizumab (KEYTRUDA), and atezolizumab (TECENTRIQ). To learn more, visit




About Swim Across America

Swim Across America, Inc. (SAA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising money and awareness for cancer research, prevention, and treatment through charity swims. Since 1987, Swim Across America has raised more than $100 million in the fight against cancer. Swim Across America’s funding of clinical trials for patients helped contribute to FDA-approved life-saving immunotherapy cancer treatments: Yervoy, Opdivo, Tecentriq, and Keytruda. More than 100,000 supporters and volunteers and 100 Olympians participate in Swim Across America programs each year. To learn more visit or follow on Facebook @swimacrossamerica or on Twitter, or Instagram @saaswim.



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