A Message from Our CEO on Rare Cancer Day

By Marc Hurlbert, PhD, MRA Chief Executive Officer | 30 September 2023 | Melanoma Stories, News, Science

Melanoma and Rare Cancer Day

Acralmucosal, pediatric, and uveal melanomas – what we collectively call rare melanomas – represent an area of profound unmet medical need. 

We know far less about these melanoma subtypes, including what causes them, how they progress, and how to effectively treat them. In addition, patients with these rare melanomas are often diagnosed later, at more advanced stages of disease, when treating melanoma becomes far more difficult. 

It’s clear we have our work cut out for us. No patient with melanoma – including those with a rare subtype – should ever feel left behind.  

Today, on Rare Cancer Day, I’d like to share just a few ways in which MRA is moving this critical research forward:

  • Funding Rare Melanoma Research: MRA is the largest non-profit funder of rare melanoma research globally. In fact, we’ve invested more than $18.6 million through 45 awards specifically focused on these subtypes. MRA funded research has helped researchers begin to understand the unique biology of these rare tumors while helping to unravel the mysteries of their molecular genomics.
  • Creating the Tools Researchers Need: To support researcher’s work focused on rare melanomas, we’ve created new community-driven resources, like our Acral and Mucosal Melanoma Model Catalogs. These catalogs help advance research by building awareness of existing tools and encouraging collaboration within the melanoma research community. 
  • Bringing Patients and Researchers Together: Launched late last year, MRA’s RARE Registry for patients with acral, mucosal, and cutaneous melanomas, has become a centralized platform where advocates and researchers come together to push research forward.

We hope that by funding the best possible science, fostering collaboration across institutions, and by bringing patients, advocates, and researchers together we can continue to move the field forward to better understand, treat, and ultimately cure rare melanomas.

With gratitude, 

Marc Hurlbert, PhD
Chief Executive Officer
Melanoma Research Alliance