Research » Research Overview
It has been nearly five years after the initial Call to Action meeting that launched MRA. In this time, incredible progress has been made, and the MRA has addressed each of the seventeen scientific and clinical questions included in that Call to Action agenda. This revised and updated Strategic Research Plan will help guide the development of the MRA scientific portfolio over the next four years. The plan was developed based on feedback from members of the Grant Review Committee and Scientific Advisory Panel with input from the MRA leadership team.
2011 was a year in which landmark advances in melanoma research and treatment were made. Two new drugs for the treatment of metastatic melanoma were approved. These breakthroughs underscore remarkable progress that has been unfolding in the six years since the founding of the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA), whose mission is to find and fund the most promising research worldwide toward a day when no one suffers or dies from melanoma. Yet, these therapies will not be the cure for most patients. With more than $48 million awarded to 116 programs worldwide, MRA has catalyzed strategic, collaborative, and accountable research efforts, moving from what has been called "the year of melanoma" to "the year of the melanoma cure" as quickly as possible.
MRA supports both individual investigator and collaborative team projects focused on translational, innovative research that will impact the prevention, diagnosis, staging, and treatment of melanoma in the near and intermediate future. In just a few years, tangible outcomes and promising early research results are advancing the understanding of melanoma etiology and progression and developing new therapies for patients with advanced disease.
-Richard White, M.D., Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Collaboration is at MRA's core-from the team approaches to research that we fund, to the way we find partners who can help us realize our vision. Of note:
MRA has co-funded research projects with premier cancer research foundations including the Melanoma Research Foundation, Cancer Research Institute, Canadian Cancer Society, American Association for Cancer Research, and The Safeway Foundation.
MRA selected eight Academic-Industry Partnership Awards that are supporting projects in conjunction with matched contributions from an industry partner whose participation is essential to the project. Current Industry Partners are Canfield Scientific Inc, Celldex Therapeutics, Altor BioScience Corporation, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Aduro BioTech, and Merck.
MRA and Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) are jointly funding a Melanoma Dream Team at the level of $6 million in 2012. This groundbreaking award will represent the largest single grant for melanoma research and the first collaboration of its kind with SU2C.
All proposals undergo rigorous peer review by the MRA Grant Review Committee, comprised of experts in diverse areas of translational cancer research. The GRC operates under guidelines that ensure objective review by the committee. Of note, GRC members who are Principal Investigators on applications do not participate in the review of any applications. Members who have other conflicts with specific proposals may not review or vote on such proposals. Final funding decisions are ratified by the MRA Board of Directors. Full-term funding is contingent upon review of annual progress reports and other oversight activities conducted by MRA.