Articles by Marc Hurlbert, PhD, MRA Chief Executive Officer
Improving AI Performance for People of Color: Diagnosing Melanoma & Other Skin Cancers
The problem with the current state-of-the-art AI and image-based algorithms is that they have been developed using images of moles from light skinned (white) individuals. As a result, existing AI tools are not sensitive enough in people with darker skin. Dr. Albert Chiou, Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at Stanford University, the junior faculty member on the L’Oréal Dermatological Beauty Brands-MRA Team Science Award, and his colleagues are working to fix these shortcomings.
2021 AACR and ASCO Melanoma Highlights
Over the last few months, thousands of scientists and physicians from around the globe gathered virtually for two of the largest cancer research conferences – AACR and ASCO. Melanoma research advances were showcased at both events and it’s an exciting time with numerous presentations of clinical trials for new melanoma treatments. Here we highlight some of the most exciting results from both conferences.
Personalized Vaccines for Melanoma – An Update
Vaccines work by priming the immune system, thereby reducing the severity and duration of symptoms or lowering the risk of becoming infected at all. And while vaccines have changed the world for infectious disease, did you know they can also help combat cancers.
Five Melanoma Research Highlights to Look Forward to in 2021
At MRA, every day we are focused on how melanoma research can be reimagined to accelerate progress similar to what has been accomplished in record time with COVID-19 research, and look forward to a future not only void of COVID-19; but where suffering and death due to melanoma are no more.
Reimagining Melanoma Research During and After the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has touched all of our lives – from illnesses and unexpected deaths, to world economies and the careers impacted. Like everything else, melanoma research has also been impacted – from decreased enrollment in clinical trials, to research labs hampered by lock-downs and new protocols. At MRA, we contemplate how can melanoma research be reimagined to accelerate progress similar to what has been accomplished with COVID-19.
Next-Generation Treatments for Melanomas
Improvements in survival over the last decade for patients diagnosed with advanced melanoma is largely due to the development of ground-breaking novel treatments, such as the first BRAF inhibitor and checkpoint immunotherapy. Building on the success of these new treatment approaches, researchers are hard at work developing meaningful improvements through next-generation treatments that could improve patient outcomes.
Melanoma Research Updates from 2020 AACR and ASCO Conferences
MRA Chief Science Officer Marc Hurlbert shares exciting melanoma research highlights from ASCO and AACR - the two largest global cancer research conferences that take place annually.
Melanoma Research Advances – 2019 in Review
During 2019, melanoma research continued its rapid pace of advancement, with FDA approval of a new adjuvant therapy treatment option, several first-in-human clinical trials, and significant progress towards earlier intervention.
2020 Melanoma Mortality Rates Decreasing Despite Ongoing Increase in Incidence
Each January, the American Cancer Society (ACS) releases updated estimates about trends in new cancer cases and deaths in its annual report, Cancer Facts and Figures. This report highlights the estimated incidence (number of new cases), prevalence (number of people alive today with a history of cancer), and survival statistics for...
Overcoming Targeted Therapy Resistance
Targeted therapies work well for many patients, but most will go on to develop acquired resistance. Researchers are working to address this challenge. Learn about two promising examples.
About the Author
Marc Hurlbert, PhD, MRA Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Marc Hurlbert, a pharmacologist by training, was appointed Chief Executive Officer for the Melanoma Research Alliance on May 1, 2022. In this role, Marc is responsible for setting and executing the strategic direction of the organization and its science programs.
Previous to his appointment as CEO, Dr. Hurlbert served as MRA's Chief Science Officer. In this role, he was responsible for guiding MRA’s scientific strategy, overseeing the peer-reviewed grant-making program, and forging scientific collaborations. Under his leadership, MRA dramatically expanded investment in and focus on rare melanoma subtypes, brain metastases and leptomeningeal disease and broadened support for prevention and early detection of melanoma through novel technologies such as machine learning. He has more than 20 years of nonprofit and grant-making experience focused on advancing medical research. Past work has included treatment and prevention strategies for breast cancer, lymphoma and multiple myeloma, as well as juvenile diabetes. In addition, Marc led the expansion of public health programs to enable low-income, uninsured and minority patient populations diagnosed with cancer to access treatments and care across the US, and in developing countries around the world.
Dr. Hurlbert comes to MRA after serving for three years as the Chief Mission Officer at the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). At BCRF Marc oversaw a $60-million annual research program supporting 300 scientists in 15 countries, spanning all aspects of cancer from basic biology and prevention, to developing new treatments and to quality of life research. Prior to BCRF, Marc served as a scientific director at the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Crusade, as a scientific consultant and on the staff of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
In 2013, Dr. Hurlbert co-founded and served as Chair for the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance, a leading coalition of 30 nonprofits, 11 pharmaceutical companies, and dozens of patients that works together to advance research and improve the quality of life for patients with metastatic disease. During his five years as Chair, the Alliance conducted and published a comprehensive research landscape analysis, conducted two national awareness campaigns reaching millions of people, developed two new tools for patients to find clinical trials, forged partnerships with NCI and the FDA, and conducted 4 epidemiology research studies.
He earned a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Colorado, and completed a fellowship at the New York University Medical Center. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from the University of Kansas.