Category: Science


Finding the Magic Formula

By Cody R. Barnett, MRA Director of Communications | 7 February 2018 In Science, Treatment

Modern immunotherapy, with melanoma as its poster child, is changing the way we treat cancer - for good. But, so far at least, it isn't helping everyone. Many scientists believe that there isn't a single silver bullet to unleash the awesome power of our immune systems - and instead - that the future of oncology is finding just the right combination of therapies that push and pull from different directions to multiply and enhance each other's effectiveness.

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The Microbiome, is it the Deciding Factor for Immunotherapy Success?

By Cody R. Barnett, MRA Director of Communications | 10 January 2018 In News, Science

It's been nearly seven years since the first FDA-approved checkpoint inhibitor for melanoma came on the market and doctors, researchers, and patients all keep asking: "who is most likely to benefit from immunotherapy? How can we make this work for more people?" Thankfully, the answer may be closer than we thought and the trillions of bacteria, viruses, and other bugs - which make up our microbiome - may have something to say about it.

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Creating a New Generation of Melanoma Models

By Cody R. Barnett, MRA Director of Communications | 8 January 2018 In Allies & Partnerships, Science

We all can remember the eruption that happened when our 1st grade science teacher combined vinegar and baking soda together to represent a volcano. In some ways, this is just like experiments that take place every day in the search for better treatments, and ultimately a cure, for melanoma. In both instances, the researcher uses models to represent systems and phenomena that would otherwise be difficult or unethical to touch, see, or manipulate. Models are powerful things and we use them every day to make things easier to understand. In science, modeling is an essential component of our scientific process.

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New Year, New Grantees An Insider's Perspective into MRA Grantmaking

By Tasheema Prince, MRA Scientific Program Manager | 5 January 2018 In Allies & Partnerships, Science

New goals and time for personal reflection; the start of a year is an exciting time for many. It is also an action-packed time for the Melanoma Research Alliance's grantmaking process. As the Scientific Program Manager at MRA, I get a front row seat as we do our part to drive towards breakthroughs in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of melanoma.

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FDA Approves Nivolumab in Adjuvant Setting - Is it a Big Deal?

By Louise M. Perkins, Ph.D., MRA Chief Science Officer | 21 December 2017 In News, Science, Treatment

The US FDA approved the use of nivolumab (Opdivo) in the adjuvant setting on December 20, 2017. This means that nivolumab may be used to treat melanoma patients with lymph node involvement or metastatic disease after complete surgical resection to reduce the risk of their disease recurring.

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Introducing Clinical Trial Navigator: Start Searching Today

By Cody R. Barnett, MRA Director of Communications | 5 December 2017 In Allies & Partnerships, News, Science, Treatment

At MRA, we know that advancing science is our best bet in the fight against melanoma. More than 87,000 people in the US will be diagnosed with melanoma this year, and with these numbers on the rise, researchers are working harder than ever to find new and better treatment options. In fact, there are over 300 clinical trials happening in melanoma right now.

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“Hands down, I’m alive today because of clinical trials”

By Cody R. Barnett, MRA Director of Communications | 15 November 2017 In Melanoma Stories, Science

Jamie Goldfarb didn’t think of herself as having cancer. Yes, she had been diagnosed with Stage II melanoma four years earlier and Stage III the following year, but the surgeries to remove it had been successful. The PET scans that followed had been normal. This wasn’t supposed to be happening. Jamie was now a tired new mom with an eleven-week old baby and she was ready to get back to work. But, her world would turn upside down when she learned that not only was melanoma back, but it had progressed to Stage IV and spread to her liver and pancreas.

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Changing the Status Quo: Four Landmark Studies and their Implication for Melanoma Treatment

By Cody R. Barnett, MRA Director of Communications | 13 November 2017 In News, Science

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.

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Ten Years of Powerful Research and Results

By Cody R. Barnett, MRA Director of Communications | 13 November 2017 In Allies & Partnerships, Melanoma Stories, News, Prevention, Science

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.

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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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