The Melanoma Research Alliance has announced grants totaling $10.9 million in support of research to advance treatments and improve outcomes for melanoma patients.
To that end, grants were awarded to twenty-three institutions in five countries conducting melanoma research, including projects focused on how best to combine surgery, radiotherapy, and systemic treatments for metastatic disease. Recipients of Team Science Awards include Boris Bastian (University of California, San Francisco), who is exploring genomic instability in acral melanoma as a therapeutic vulnerability; Greg Delgoffe (University of Pittsburgh), whose research is focused on the evolution of metabolic and immune dysfunction in in-transit melanoma; and Richard Scolyer (Melanoma Institute Australia), who is investigating effective therapies for patients with high risk in-transit disease. Young Investigator Award recipients include Aparna Kesarwala (Emory University), for a project targeting interactions between melanoma metabolism and radiation therapy; Jeremy Logue (Albany Medical College), in support of research focused on the role of blebs in melanoma metastasis; and Lixing Yang (University of Chicago), who is investigating the impact of tumor progression trajectory on immunotherapy treatment.
Recipients of Pilot Awards include Alfonso Bellacosa (the Research Institute of Fox Chase Cancer Center), whose research is focused on sensitizing melanoma to immunotherapy with novel DNA hypermethylating drugs; Linda Bradley (Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute), whose research targets immune inhibitory gene transcription to reverse T-cell exhaustion; and Stephanie Dougan (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute), in support of a project that will explore tandem cytokine delivery with non-replicating herpes viral vectors.
"This year, for the first time ever, we estimate that more than a hundred thousand people in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive melanoma," said MRA chief science officer Marc Hurlbert. "While our efforts over the last decade have reduced melanoma mortality rates, we still must continue to advance research needed to improve outcomes for all patients facing melanoma."
For a complete list of grant recipients, see the Melanoma Research Alliance website.