Happy summer! Here’s hoping you are enjoying the longer days and able to spend a bit more time with friends and families doing the things you love. As you take advantage of the warmer weather don’t forget to keep sun safety and our shared goal of defeating melanoma in mind.
At MRA, we are taking advantage of the summer season to accelerate progress for melanoma prevention, detection and treatment. Building on the historic slate of grants we announced last month, we are preparing for our next grant cycle, which will launch in August with a Request for Proposals (RFP). MRA also just released its 2014 Scientific Retreat Report, detailing the extraordinary work of many of our funded investigators and highlighting the collaborative relationships forged at this unique event. You can read the 2014 Scientific Retreat Report here.
It was gratifying to be ranked #1 among 30 premier research grant-making disease foundations by Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN). MRA is focused on funding as much cutting-edge melanoma research as possible. Thanks to the generous ongoing support of our founders, MRA allocates 100 percent of all donor dollars directly to research. Check out the full story here.
We are thrilled to be partnering with American Idol® Live! Tour, which began its 40-city run in late June, with $1 from each ticket sold benefitting melanoma research funded by MRA. Also this month, J.Crew is joining with us to promote a message of melanoma awareness and sun safety while raising funds to support research.
MRA’s Chief Science Officer traveled to San Diego, Calif., to attend the 2014 BIO International Conference where the discussion she led about immunotherapies for cancer drew a standing-room only crowd.
Each week brings hopeful news regarding the expanding arsenal of treatment options for melanoma patients. Just this week the first anti-PD1 therapy approval was announced for melanoma patients in Japan. We are excited about these developments, as we see MRA-funded scientists continuing to lead the field in making a real difference in people’s lives. Thank you for your continuing support for our work!
Wendy K.D. Selig
Wendy K.D. Selig
President and CEO
MRA Releases Annual Scientific Retreat Report
MRA released its Annual Scientific Retreat Report, “Converging on a Cure,” covering the scientific findings presented at its Sixth Annual Scientific Retreat held in Washington, DC on February 26-28, 2014. This year’s retreat was MRA’s largest and most diverse meeting yet with approximately 300 thought leaders in attendance. Participants included academic scientists from nine countries and 77 institutions, almost 60 industry allies, more than 50 representatives of non-profit organizations, and 15 senior-level government colleagues. The report offers a glimpse into the exciting developments in the field of melanoma and the collaborative relationships forged within and across sectors thanks to MRA’s unique research program. By promoting collaboration in the field and providing critical investments in innovative translational research, MRA is leading the field in converging on a cure. You can read the full report here.
MRA CSO Moderates Packed Panel at BIO Conference
On Wednesday June 25, MRA’s Chief Science Officer Louise M. Perkins moderated an exciting panel at the 2014 BIO International Convention in San Diego, “Shoot for the Immune: Taking Aim at Cancer with the Next Generation of Immunotherapies.” The panel of speakers included MRA’s Grant Review Committee Chair Kim Margolin, Aya Jakobovits from OrbiMed, and Eric Rubin from Merck Research Laboratories. While at BIO, Perkins met with more than 20 industry leaders to discuss developing new cancer treatments, especially in melanoma. Nearly 15,000 researchers, regulators and thought-leaders attended the convention which featured keynote addresses from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sir Richard Branson.
Nature Article Features MRA Grant Review Committee Member
The work of an MRA Grant Review Committee Member, Dr. Richard Marais, Director of the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research, was published in Nature and widely broadcast by media outlets such as the BBC. The study’s findings concluded that sunscreen alone was not enough protection to prevent melanoma and that multiple methods of protection are necessary to reduce your risk of this deadly disease.
EVENTS AND ALLIANCES
American Idol®Live! Tour Partners With MRA
MRA is delighted to partner once again with the American Idol® Live! Tour. For every ticket purchased for the Tour, American Idol® Live! will donate $1 to MRA to fund our research program and aid efforts to cure melanoma. The Tour kicked off June 24 in Binghamton, NY and will hit 40 different cities across the U.S. throughout the summer. Tickets can be purchased at www.AmericanIdol.com/tour.
J.Crew Partners with MRA in SmartSun Campaign
For the month of July, J.Crew has partnered with MRA to raise awareness and funds to cure melanoma. J.Crew will be donating $1 to MRA for every picture shared on Instagram showing how you cover up and have fun in the sun. To participate, people just need to tag their pictures with #Jcrewsmartsun.
OUTREACH AND VISIBILITY
MRA Video: Leading the Way toward a Cure
MRA released the 4th in a series of videos that highlights its work in leading the way toward finding a cure for melanoma.
Please watch and share: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JD6_YehGLs
MRA Ranked #1 Grant-Giving Disease Foundation
MRA was ranked #1 of the top 30 grant-giving disease foundations according to Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN). The list underscores the crucial role non-profit disease organizations serve in funding critical research to bridge the gap created by declining resources offered by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) over the past decade. Other top ranked grant-giving nonprofit organizations included The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and the Cancer Research Fund of the Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Foundation.
New Ally Story and Survivor Story Added to MRA's Website
MRA is pleased to share a new story on our alliance with the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. Sonja Plesset, the Whitehead Institute’s Vice President of Advancement, describes how MRA co-funded the promising melanoma research of Whitehead Member and MRA Young Investigator, Dr. Piyush Gupta. Read the rest of this story here.
Melissa Breitbart-Sohn shares her story on the MRA website this month. Melissa reflects on her experience receiving a diagnosis of metastatic melanoma as a young mother and how she vowed to dedicate herself to finding a cure for melanoma through the Live4Life Foundation. Read the rest of her story here.
MRA Honored by MGH Cancer Center
On June 10, MRA was honored to be chosen as one of the One Hundred by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center. CEO Wendy Selig spoke on behalf of MRA at the event, which is held annually to celebrate the 100 individuals and organizations who have dedicated themselves to making a difference in the fight against cancer.
Louise M. Perkins Featured in Patient #1 Blog
Louise M. Perkins, MRA’s Chief Science Officer, was featured in a Q&A on Philly’s Patient #1 blog. In this first installment of the “Tales from ASCO” series, T.J. Sharpe posed questions on the recent advances in melanoma treatment and how the scientific findings presented at the Annual Scientific Conference of Oncology (ASCO) will impact patients. T.J. Sharpe’s Patient #1 blog shares his fight against Stage 4 melanoma. You can read the Q&A here.
Wendy Selig Featured in FOX News Article
MRA has been leading the efforts of the Public Access to SunScreens (PASS) Coalition to draft and introduce a bill to fix the FDA’s sunscreen ingredient approval process. After the bill’s introduction and the growing concern for better sunscreens during Melanoma Awareness Month, MRA’s CEO and President was quoted in an article by FOX News on the need to streamline the FDA approval process in order to provide the public with access to better sunscreens. MRA’s comments on this issue have also been featured in The Washington Post, Huffington Post, and Congressional Quarterly (CQ) as well as in interviews with media outlets from Long Island a nd Los Angeles.
Under-18 Indoor Tanning Ban Enacted in Hawaii
Last week, Hawaii enacted legislation that prohibits minors under 18 years of age from using indoor tanning equipment. The bill was signed on July 3 by Governor Neil Abercrombie effective immediately. In total, ten states across the U.S. have now passed legislation banning indoor tanning bed use by minors. Similar bills are still under consideration in a handful of states, including North Carolina. MRA supports these bans and views them as an important first step in protecting youth from the known health dangers associated with UV exposure and indoor tanning.
MRA Hails Sunscreen Innovation Act Mark-Up by House Subcommittee
On June 19, MRA hailed the formal mark-up of H.R. 4250, the Sunscreen Innovation Act, by the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health. You can read MRA’s statement here. This move is an important first step toward enactment of legislation to alleviate the current 12 year backlog of sunscreen ingredients, and streamline the review process so the public can gain more timely access to the most effective and innovative sunscreen products. As a leading member of the PASS Coalition, MRA continues to support the passage of this bill and will keep you informed on further legislative developments.
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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