Spotlight on Immunotherapy: Genetic Makeup of Tumors Informs use of anti-PD-1 drugs for Multiple Cancer Types

By Pooja H. Rambhia, MD Candidate, Case Western Reserve University | 6 October 2017 In News, Science, Treatment

Imagine the powerlessness one must feel after undergoing rigorous treatment for cancer only to find that your tumor is non-responsive. However – new hope may be on the horizon. In May 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to Pembrolizumab for treatmentof patients whose cancers possess a genetic mutation in the mismatch repair pathway (mismatch repair deficient, or dMMR) or are microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H). This is the first time the agency approved a cancer treatment based on a common biomarker rather than the location in the body where the tumor originated.

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Are Nanoparticles the Answer to the Question: Is it Working? An Interview with MRA Young Investigator, Dr. Ashish Kulkarni

By Cody R. Barnett, MRA Director of Communications | 4 October 2017 In Science

When we think about cancer researchers, we don’t always think of engineers. Dr. Ashish Kulkarni proves that maybe, we should. His pioneering work as a chemical engineer is helping us answer the critical, yet difficult to answer question that is at the forefront of every patient’s mind as they start treatment: ‘is it working?’

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‘Practice Changing’ Results Hint at New Adjuvant Therapy Treatment Options

By Louise M. Perkins, Ph.D., MRA Chief Science Officer | 30 September 2017 In Treatment

Adjuvant treatment is used in addition to tumor removal e.g. via surgery or radiotherapy to help delay or prevent the recurrence of melanoma. It is often recommended for high-risk melanoma (defined as melanoma deeper or thicker than 4mm thick at the primary site or involves nearby lymph nodes). Approved adjuvant therapies in melanoma include interferon and, more recently, ipilimumab. But neither of these approaches is wholly satisfying since relatively few patients appear to benefit and side-effects are a major factor.

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Melanoma Survivor and Pro Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt Shares His “Game Plan” for Battling Cancer

By Your Cancer Game Plan | 19 September 2017 In Allies & Partnerships, Melanoma Stories, Treatment

Mike Schmidt, member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, is considered to be the greatest third baseman of all-time. As a professional athlete, he always felt invincible, but in 2013 a melanoma diagnosis threw him a curveball that he wasn’t prepared for.

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Bristol-Myers Squibb Funds Two MRA Young Investigator Awards in Immuno-Oncology

By Kristen Mueller, Ph.D., MRA Scientific Program Director | 6 September 2017 In Allies & Partnerships, Science, Treatment

MRA is pleased to announce Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has provided generous support for two Young Investigator Awards from our 2016-2017 grant cycle. The recipients of the Bristol-Myers Squibb - MRA Young Investigator Award are Dr. Erica Stone of The Wistar Institute and Dr. Manuel Valiente of Fundación Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas Carlos III. MRA’s independent panel of academic experts selected these two immuno-oncology research programs to receive funding in 2017.

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A Mother’s Perspective: New Options for Pediatric Melanoma

By Cody R. Barnett, MRA Director of Communications | 6 September 2017 In Melanoma Stories, News, Treatment

When Cheryl Trocke’s nine-year old son Graham was diagnosed with melanoma four years ago, she quickly learned that when it comes to kids, there were no great treatment options and that care can vary greatly based on where your child is treated. After surgically removing the primary tumor, Graham’s doctors suggested a treatment plan of ‘wait and see.’

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Measuring Progress: Skin Cancer Prevention in the United States

By Cody R. Barnett, MRA Director of Communications | 6 September 2017 In News, Prevention, Science

On July 29 2014, Dr. Boris Lushniak, the then acting U.S. Surgeon General at, issued a landmark call to action when he declared skin cancer as a major public health problem. He called on everyone, from government agencies to community-based organizations to schools to come together to increase awareness of skin cancer and ways to reduce risk. Since the Call to Action, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released an annual report each year documenting progress, celebrating success, and identifying areas where improvement is needed. The key areas of the Call to Action and the update from the CDC 2017 Progress Report are highlighted below.

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Doubling Down: Brandon Barniea Bets Big on Combination Therapy

By Cody R. Barnett, MRA Director of Communications | 6 September 2017 In Melanoma Stories, Treatment

Brandon Barniea didn’t believe he needed to visit doctors. The athletic 35-year-old had always been healthy – even when his wife and two kids were sick at home with the flu, he would miraculously avoid falling ill. So, when he found what felt like “beads” in his neck, reality came crashing in; following a biopsy, he was diagnosed first with stage III melanoma in August 2015 and later that year it progressed to stage IV.

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L’Oréal Paris USA-MRA Team Scientists shed light on how melanoma spreads

By Kristen Mueller, Ph.D., MRA Scientific Program Director | 29 August 2017 In Allies & Partnerships, Science, Treatment

MRA is extremely proud of the 289 investigators we have funded over the last decade and the exciting advances they have made toward ending suffering and death due to melanoma. While we can never highlight all of them at one time, we’re excited in this blog to highlight the work of the L’Oreal Paris USA sponsored MRA Team award.

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MRA Announces its Tenth Annual Request for Proposals

By Kristen Mueller, Ph.D., MRA Scientific Program Director | 14 August 2017 In News, Science, Treatment

MRA is pleased to announce our 2017/18 Request for Proposals (RFP). As in prior years, MRA seeks high-impact pre-clinical, translational, and early clinical research that has the potential to lead to near-term impact in melanoma prevention, detection, diagnosis, staging, and treatment.

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