|MRA leadership and supporters with panelists from MRA’s Scientific Retreat luncheon|
Last week, MRA welcomed more than 300 leaders from academia, industry, nonprofits, and government to Washington, DC, for two days of intensive meetings on all things melanoma at our 6th Annual Scientific Retreat. As MRA builds on the momentum from this highly productive gathering, we are eager to share some highlights with you.
This year’s meeting set several important records for MRA, including the number, caliber, and breadth of attendees from across the continuum of the melanoma community. We were joined by an international cadre representing 77 institutions, 29 companies, more than a dozen collaborating foundations and many engaged patients. Retreat attendees heard cutting-edge results from the world’s leading melanoma researchers, as well as testimonials from melanoma patients directly impacted by this work. MRA also convened a meeting of like-minded melanoma foundations to foster collaborations across the nonprofit space, hosted a solutions-oriented session with industry and FDA to discuss new models for advancing earlier stage therapies, and presented a lunchtime discussion panel featuring MRA Board Members Michael Milken and Senator Connie Mack, and journalist and author Cokie Roberts.
The meeting was electric with optimism and potential for life-saving progress. As scientists presented their research findings, explored collaborations across disciplines and sectors, and engaged in discussions about improving patient outcomes, it was apparent that we are turning the corner on melanoma. We look forward to another exciting year of big news and expanded options for melanoma patients.
Our Retreat, and indeed our research mission, would not be possible without the support of our founders, allies, and donors. At such a critical juncture in the history of melanoma research, your support of MRA means more than ever. Thank you for your continued investment in our organization.
Wendy K.D. Selig
President and CEO
MRA Celebrates Its 6th Annual Scientific Retreat
Last week, MRA welcomed more than 300 leaders from academia, industry, nonprofits, and government to Washington, DC, for our 6th Annual Scientific Retreat. The program featured cutting-edge research results from MRA-funded programs as well as presentations on other topics of interest. An overarching theme of the meeting was the development of combination therapies for metastatic melanoma, in particular the integration of immunotherapies and kinase inhibitors. Research is indicating that drug combinations will be required for long-term control and cure of most patients. The identification of biomarkers is a key component to the rational development and testing of combinations of therapies, and many speakers discussed their research in this area as well. Another key feature of this year’s meeting was its multi-disciplinary nature as scientists with expertise in a variety of clinical fields (oncology, dermatology, surgery) and scientific disciplines (molecular biology, cell biology, immunology, chemistry, systems biology, informatics, and others) gathered with a common mission – eliminating melanoma as a cause of death and suffering. MRA will produce a more in-depth scientific report that will be made available by early summer.
MRA and The Saban Family Foundation Award $2.25 Million for Team Science
Last month, MRA and the Saban Family Foundation, a charitable foundation focused on supporting medical, children’s and education programs in the U.S. and Israel, jointly awarded $2.25 million in grants to three teams of investigators based at institutions in Israel and the U.S.These Team Science Awards will support collaborative research to improve the treatment of melanoma. The awards, which were offered to interdisciplinary teams led by a Principal Investigator at an institution in Israel, represent the first regionally targeted funding opportunity for MRA. Read our full press release on the awards here.
MRA Article Published in AACR Journal
An article written by MRA’s Founder and MRA’s Scientific Program Director was published in the December issue of AACR’s Journal of Cancer Immunology Research. The article profiles MRA and discusses the power of patient advocacy in scientific research. You can access the full text through the News section of MRA’s website.
Journal of Clinical Oncology Study Shows Long-Term Survival Data for Anti-PD-1 Therapy
MRA-supported researchers published a paper this week in the Journal of Clinical Oncology that describes the long-term effects of the anti-PD-1 therapy nivolumab in patients with melanoma. The study was led by MRA’s Scientific Advisory Panel Chair Dr. Suzanne Topalian and features several MRA-funded co-authors. This paper is the first report of overall survival outcomes and long-term safety for a drug blocking the PD-1 pathway and suggests the potential for developing combination therapies based on anti-PD-1 agents. You can read the paper’s abstract here (a subscription is required to read the study in its entirety).
EVENTS AND ALLIANCES
Humble Bundle, Electronic Arts to Raise Funds for MRA from March 6th-13th
MRA is one of two designated charities during Humble Bundle’s week-long philanthropic venture that begins today. Humble Bundle sells bundles of digital content and games that are distributed online at a price established by the purchaser. Bundle sales are usually split among the content creators, the Humble Bundle platform, and select charities, but from March 6th -13th, Humble Bundle and PopCapTM Games, developer of popular games like BejeweledTM and Plants vs. ZombiesTM, will launch a charitable program in which they refuse any profits. Instead the proceeds will be divided between MRA and the V Foundation, another cancer research charity. Please visit the promotion site and help spread the word about this unique charitable collaboration on social media!
Eric Javits Expands Alliance with MRA
Eric Javits, a headwear and accessories line, has launched a second year-long cause marketing campaign to benefit MRA. The company will donate 30% of the purchase price from various UPF hats to MRA through February of 2015. See some of those selected hats here.
OUTREACH AND VISIBILITY
MRA Presents at BIO CEO & Investor Conference
MRA’s Chief Science Officer delivered a company presentation at the BIO CEO and Investor Conference earlier this month at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. MRA was one of only a handful of patient organizations invited to present at this prestigious event, which is the largest investor conference focused on biotechnology companies.
New Survivor Story: Amanda Greene
This month, melanoma survivor Amanda Greene shares the story of her battle with the disease. As a busy 24-year-old in the media industry, Amanda took the time to listen to a nagging feeling that something just wasn’t right with a mole on her chest. You can check out Amanda’s full story on the MRA website.
Melanoma Focus Features Guest Blog Post by Jamie Troil Goldfarb
MRA’s Melanoma Focus blog recently ran a guest post from stage IV melanoma survivor and melanoma blogger Jamie Troil Goldfarb. In the post, Jamie discusses the psychological move from patient to survivor to victor with emotion and honesty. The post garnered the most views of any MRA blog post to-date, and can be read here.
Rockefeller University Event Features MRA Founder and MRA Young Investigator
|MRA’s Founder and an MRA Young Investigator spoke at The Rockefeller University on Feb 19th|
Last month, MRA Founder and Chair Debra Black and MRA Young Investigator Sohail Tavazoie participated in an event at The Rockefeller University titled “Sun Exposure, Genetics, and Melanoma: A Worldwide Health Challenge.” At the event, Dr. Tavazoie delivered a presentation on his melanoma research, and offered possible ways to combat melanoma metastasis moving forward. A panel discussion on melanoma awareness and prevention followed, with panelists, including Debra Black, also addressing the impact of philanthropy on melanoma research. You can watch a video of the event here.
Wendy Selig Elected President of NCCR
The National Coalition for Cancer Research (NCCR) has elected MRA President & CEO Wendy Selig president of its board of directors. The NCCR is a coalition comprised of 23 national cancer organizations. Its membership includes more than 85,000 cancer researchers, nurses and physicians, more than 90 cancer centers and specialized research institutions, and more than 2 million cancer patients, survivors and their families. MRA’s full statement on the election can be read 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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