Changing the Status Quo: Four Landmark Studies and their Implication for Melanoma Treatment
The crown jewel of the Melanoma Research Alliance has always been—and will always be—good science. Through science, we not only gain a better understanding of melanoma, but the ability to translate that understanding into better treatments, which in turn lead to a better quality of life for people with melanoma. At MRA, solid scientific leadership is at the forefront of everything we do. That’s why the MRA Board of Directors was thrilled to hear a presentation by fellow Board member and world-class researcher, Dr. Suzanne Topalian, on four landmark studies and their implications for melanoma treatment.
Ten Years of Powerful Research and Results
In 2007, when Debra Black was diagnosed with Stage II melanoma, there were few treatment options. In fact, for those diagnosed with late-stage melanoma, only two FDA-Approved treatment options existed, and they only provided a 16% chance at five-year survival. After dealing with her own health concerns, she and her husband knew that they could-and needed- to do more. That’s why later that year they worked with Mike Milken to found MRA and transform the melanoma landscape.
MRA Raises Millions of Dollars for Groundbreaking Melanoma Research
Normally, when people are at a Sotheby’s auction, they come to bid on beautiful and rare art. On Nov. 2nd, however, more than 240 people came together at Sotheby’s Headquarters in New York City to raise their paddle in the fight against melanoma. Together, participants raised over $20 million to further advance melanoma research.
“Seeing his Family Grow-Up Thanks to the Promise of Clinical Trials”
In August 2012, T.J. Sharpe walked into the emergency room with a fever. He’d been ill for a couple of days and didn’t want to get his four-week old son sick if he could avoid it. Sixteen days later, he left a full 30 pounds lighter and with a stage IV melanoma diagnosis.
Safe and Sound: Balancing Safety with Innovation in American Sunscreens
Currently, Americans have access to 16 sunscreen active ingredients approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent skin cancer. The last time a new OTC (Over the Counter) sunscreen ingredient was added to the FDA sunscreen monograph was 1999. Meanwhile, Europeans have access to 29 sunscreen active ingredients. In the United States there are currently eight new sunscreen ingredients that are pending FDA review, which have been used in Europe – many for over ten years. These new, and potentially better, active ingredients could allow sunscreens to last longer and provide better full spectrum coverage that could help us reverse trends of increasing melanoma incidence in this country. Unlike in Europe where sunscreens are classified as cosmetics, in the United States the FDA is required to evaluate all active ingredients in sunscreens as OTC drugs. Meaning, that all U.S. sunscreen ingredients must be found generally recognized as safe and effective (GRASE) in the same manner as other OTC medications. The FDA says that this is critical to keeping us safe, but is it possible to balance innovation and safety?
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.
Are Nanoparticles the Answer to the Question: Is it Working? An Interview with MRA Young Investigator, Dr. Ashish Kulkarni
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?’
‘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.
Melanoma Survivor and Pro Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt Shares His “Game Plan” for Battling Cancer
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.
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.