SWOG (formerly the Southwest Oncology Group) is a National Cancer Institute (NCI) supported organization that conducts clinical trials in adult cancers. We know SWOG from the their clinical trial had led to the current BCG treatment protocol, which is 6 weeks induction and followed by 36 months of maintenance.
To mitigate the BCG shortage, in 2017 SWOG started the clinical trial SWOG-1602 to test if Tokyo-172 strain BCG by Japan BCG laboratory to compare it with MERCK OncoTICE Tice strain BCG. The clinical trial has been completed and we should expect the result soon.
In the same clinical trial, they tested if BCG vaccine shot before the BCG treatment will improve the outcome. The presentation slides of Dr. Christopher Ruan , Executive Officer of SWOG indicates almost 30% improvement in recurrence free survival compared to those who did not get a BCG vaccine. The idea of this trial was to see if the BCG vaccine can prime our immune system, specifically developing T-cells against BCG bacteria before the first dose of the induction course. The vaccine which was used was Tokyo-172 strain BCG which was the same strain BCG which was used in the BCG treatment in one cohort in the clinical trial.