The Melanoma Research Alliance Awards Nearly Two Million Dollars In Research Grants That Address The Gap In Translational Science
The MRA is focused on finding and funding the most promising melanoma research worldwide that will accelerate progress toward a cure. For its second grant cycle, the MRA received 80 proposals from seven countries. Since MRA was founded in November 2007, it has awarded eight million dollars to 30 research programs that hold the promise of turning scientific discoveries into tools and/or treatments for high risk individuals or melanoma patients.
Melanoma is one of the most common cancers in men and women ages 20-29, the sixth most common cancer in the United States, and its incidence has continued to rise over the past three decades. If caught in its earliest stages, melanoma is curable with surgery; however, patients diagnosed with later stage, or metastatic melanoma, have less than a 15 percent chance of surviving five years after diagnosis.
"We measure the value of research based on how it translates into the best options for melanoma patients," said Debra Black, Co-Founder of MRA. "The global melanoma research community is poised with innovative and novel ideas that promise to find a cure for melanoma. We are pleased to be able to support these incredible efforts and spur the development of even more effective approaches."
The 2008-2009 MRA grant funding cycle supports the following individual research programs:
Young Investigator Award
The MRA has awarded $100,000 over two years to three young investigators whose work has the potential to transform melanoma treatment.
- Dr. Zhen Cheng, Stanford University
Proposal Title: 18F-Labeled benzamides for pre-clinical PET imaging of melanoma metastases
- Dr. Sanjev Kumar, University of Michigan
Proposal Title: Combining an MDM2 inhibitor with chemotherapy for the treatment of melanoma
- Dr. Patrick Ott, New York University
Proposal Title: The role of oncogenic signaling pathways in human melanoma immune evasion
Established Investigator Award
Six investigators who have committed their research careers to oncology and are pursuing novel ideas in melanoma research have each received $225,000 in MRA grants over the course of two years.
- Dr. Martin McMahon, University of California, San Francisco
Proposal Title: Targeting signaling pathways for therapy in a new mouse model of melanoma
- Dr. Lynda Chin, New York University
Proposal Title: Development of intra-tumoral prognostic biomarkers for primary melanoma
- Dr. TC Wu, Johns Hopkins University
Proposal Title: Treatment of melanoma combining cancer gene therapy and immunotherapy
- Dr. F. Stephen Hodi, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Proposal Title: A phase I trial of bevacizumab plus ipilimumab in melanoma patients
- Dr. Alexander Levitzki, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Proposal Title: Targeting the IGF1R pathway in melanoma
- Dr. Roya Khosravi-Far, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Proposal Title: Targeted strategy for treatment of melanoma
MRA granted three researchers with pilot awards, $100,000 over two years, for pursuing first-of-its-kind melanoma treatment approaches.
- Dr. Sancy Leachman, University of Utah
Proposal Title: Sulforaphane, a melanoma prevention agent for high-risk MC1R genotypes
- Dr. Maria Wei, North California Institute for Research and Education, University of California San Francisco
Proposal Title: Mechanisms of melanoma treatment resistance
- Dr. Xue-Zhong Yue, Moffitt Cancer Center
Proposal Title: Treatment of established melanoma by tumor-specific Th17 cells
The MRA provided a development award, $50,000 for one year, to a researcher whose work shows great promise for advancing the understanding and treatment of melanoma.
- Nallasivam Palanisamy, University of Michigan
Proposal Title: Transcriptome sequencing to detect gene fusions in melanoma
"MRA's sharp focus on supporting outcomes-driven research has energized melanoma scientists globally to pursue novel ideas," said Suzanne Topalian, M.D., Director of the Melanoma Program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University and Co-Chair of the MRA's Grant Review Committee. "Melanoma patients and those who are at-risk will benefit from this long-overdue aggressive approach."
Melanoma Research Alliance
Adapted by MNT from original media release