It’s been a busy and productive few weeks as we’ve welcomed exciting progress from MRA-funded investigators working to maximize success with the newly approved therapies for patients, celebrated final passage of the Sunscreen Innovation Act, and traveled to Switzerland to participate in the Society for Melanoma Research’s International Congress. Among the highlights from that meeting were presentations by two dozen MRA-supported researchers, including the first results from two different Phase 3 clinical trials involving anti-PD-1 antibodies, rational combinations, and other approaches to defeating melanoma. You can read a summary of the event here.
The deadlines for MRA’s annual Request for Proposals have just passed, once again yielding a robust collection of grant applications from institutions around the world. The MRA science team and Grant Review Committee have already begun the process of vetting these applications which hail from investigators and institutions around the world, a process that will continue into 2015. MRA plans to award at least $7 million in new research awards early next spring.
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We are pleased to present MRA’s latest Progress report, which reviews highlights of our activities for 2013-2014. This report can be viewed and downloaded from our website by clicking here.
As Thanksgiving and the gift-giving season approach, MRA remains incredibly grateful for the ongoing generous support of our founders, Board, donors, allies and partners. As you plan your charitable giving during the holiday season, I hope you will consider supporting MRA for Giving Tuesday on December 2 and by designating MRA as your charity of choice through the AmazonSmile program. As always, one hundred percent of your donations will go directly to support our research program.
Thank you for all that you do in collaboration with MRA as we work to defeat deadly melanoma. Together we are catalyzing an incredible time of progress and innovation.
Wendy K.D. Selig
President and CEO
MRA Receives Proposals From Around the World
MRA received a vigorous response to its annual Request for Proposals, whose final deadline passed last week. Over the coming months, the MRA science team will be working diligently with our Grant Review Committee to review these applications, which come from around the world, with final decision-making scheduled to occur in 2015. MRA plans to award at least $7 million to new projects during this cycle. To date, MRA has invested more than $60 million to accelerate new and better melanoma prevention, diagnostic, and treatment approaches.
Dr. Andrew Aplin, Wendy Selig & Dr. Martin McMahon
Society of Melanoma Research International Congress
Nearly 900 researchers from around the globe convened at the Society for Medical Research's meeting November 13 to 16 in Zurich, Switzerland to discuss the latest findings in melanoma research, ranging from the causes of diseases to better treatments for patients. Included among the speakers were two dozen MRA medical, scientific, or grant review committee members and funded investigators. You can read MRA’s brief summary of key findings here.
MRA-Funded Investigators Make Key Discovery in Understanding Immunotherapy
Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine the results of work on biomarkers related to ipilimumab responsiveness. This discovery was made possible with MRA’s funding along with support from a number of others. The team, led by Drs. Timothy Chan and Jedd Wolchok, analyzed the pattern of mutations in patients who either did or did not respond to ipilimumab therapy using state-of-the-art genomic sequencing and bioinformatics. If these results prove generalizable in many more patients, they may provide the means to identify which patients will benefit from ipilimumab and which should consider other therapies. You can read the full article here.
EVENTS AND ALLIANCES
Support MRA on Giving Tuesday
We hope you will consider supporting MRA December 2nd on Giving Tuesday, a national day of giving in the spirit of the holidays. One hundred percent of your donation will fund cutting-edge melanoma research. You can donate here.
Allure Beauty Box Supports MRA
MRA is the charity partner for Allure’s Beauty Box sale beginning November 25 at 12:01 pm EST, with $5 from every purchase benefitting melanoma research. Each box retails for $44.95* and contains 24 full-size beauty products. To snag yours on November 25th, visit www.AllureBeautyBoxPromo.com. There is only a limited quantity available!
*Plus $10.00 shipping and handling
Make MRA Your Charity of Choice at AmazonSmile
Next time you shop online at AmazonSmile, you now have the opportunity to shop for a cause and support melanoma research. Be sure to select the Melanoma Research Alliance Foundation as your charity of choice, and AmazonSmile will donate .5% of all eligible purchases to MRA.
OUTREACH AND VISIBILITY
MRA's 2013-2014 Progress Report
MRA’s 2013-2014 Progress Report puts into perspective all that has been accomplished over the last year and where we are headed in capitalizing on the progress in prevention, detection, and treatment of melanoma. It tells the story of MRA’s leadership and unique contributions to the remarkable transformation that is occurring in the field, as 7 new therapies have been approved for late-stage melanoma patients, even while we make headway in efforts to increase melanoma awareness, prevention and early detection. You can read it here.
MRA's Founder and Scientific Advisory Board Chair Speak at Partnering For Cures
On November 18, 2014 in front of a full ballroom at FasterCures’ Partnering for Cures conference, melanoma survivor and MRA Co-Founder Debra Black and MRA Scientific Advisory Panel Chair Dr. Suzanne Topalian discussed the founding of MRA and progress against its of revolutionizing the research field to help patients and all those at risk. You can watch footage of the panel "Time=Lives: The Perfect Storm" here. Also, MRA Board Member Mike Milken and National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Francis Collins appeared on CNBC featuring MRA's mission and the importance of funding advances in medical research—watch the segment here.
MRA Attends National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship Meeting
MRA President & CEO Wendy Selig and MRA CSO Louise M. Perkins attended a meeting of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) on November 5 and 6 at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, DC. This meeting centered on issues related to pricing and access including data access. Dr. Perkins moderated a panel on Thursday, “Enhancing the Sharing of Patient-Specific Data,” which featured several experts on the topic, including John Whyte (FDA), Justin McCarthy (Pfizer), Louis Staudt (NCI), and John Wilbanks (Sage Bionetworks). The panel addressed the challenges faced in data sharing owing to privacy, technical, regulatory and competitive issues. Despite these issues, there is clear interest and alignment across various stakeholders to try to overcome the barriers to more open, yet responsible, data sharing.
MRA Leadership Visit St. Jude Children's Hospital
The MRA team visited St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and learned more about the important work being done to treat patients with pediatric melanoma. While the disease is considered rare in the youngest patients, melanoma is the most common skin cancer for children, accounting for 7% of cancers in children ages 15 to 19.
Congress Passes the Sunscreen Innovation Act
On November 13, 2014, the House took final action on the Senate-passed Sunscreen Innovation Act, clearing the way for the President’s signature. MRA looks forward to the President signing the bill and urges the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to implement these historic reforms to streamline the review process for sunscreens. Special thanks to the leadership of the Public Access to Sunscreens (PASS) Coalition, Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Congressmen Jack Reed (D-RI) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) who made this all possible. You can read MRA’s full statement here.
MELANOMA RESEARCH ALLIANCE FOUNDATION (Melanoma Research Alliance; MRA) is a GuideStar Exchange Gold Participant Want to learn more about the GuideStar Exchange?
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