New Year, New Grantees An Insider's Perspective into MRA Grantmaking
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.
Introducing Clinical Trial Navigator: Start Searching Today
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.
Connecting the Dots – Clinical Trials and Patient Engagement
MRA is thrilled to announce the launch of the Melanoma > Exchange, a melanoma treatment and research focused discussion group and support community. Through the Melanoma > Exchange, anyone touched by Melanoma can find support, ask questions, and build community among people who share a similar experience.
“Hands down, I’m alive today because of clinical trials”
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.
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.
‘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.
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.
Doubling Down: Brandon Barniea Bets Big on Combination Therapy
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.
Melanoma Research Alliance and the American Cancer Society Forge Research Partnership to Maximize Immunotherapy Benefit to Patients
The Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) are partnering to fund much-needed research aimed at decreasing rare, but serious, side effects associated with checkpoint inhibitors in hopes of increasing further cancer immunotherapy benefit to patients.
Strides and Obstacles in Melanoma Research Spotlight on Martin McMahon, PhD
Like so many in the melanoma research field, Martin McMahon, PhD, Huntsman Cancer Institute’s senior director of pre-clinical translation and Professor at the University of Utah, entered the melanoma field by accident.