Nav: Home

Preeminent experts provide roadmap for future melanoma research

April 18, 2016

Recently the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) convened a summit of internationally-renowned melanoma experts for an in-depth discussion on the current understanding of, and future recommendations for, melanoma research. The result of the comprehensive process is a new white paper entitled, "The State of Melanoma: Challenges and Opportunities," published in the latest edition of the premier melanoma journal, Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research. In the white paper, the melanoma experts, including researchers, clinicians and patient advocates, identify the critical issues related to prevention, detection and early diagnosis, dormancy, metastasis and therapy.

"The MRF brought together these experts to develop recommendations that will drive the future of melanoma research and make major strides toward our goal of eradicating this deadly and elusive cancer once and for all," said Tim Turnham, Ph.D., executive director of the MRF. "Throughout the past ten years progress has been made in understanding melanoma, but the work is not done. Still, almost half of people with melanoma are without effective treatment options. This collaborative process and the resulting roadmap will help us get there."

In 2016 an estimated 144,000 people will be diagnosed with melanoma, resulting in nearly 10,000 deaths. Ten new therapeutic regimens were approved from 2011 to 2015 giving hope to patients and families. Despite the advances in these new treatments much is unknown including how to sequence and/or combine available treatments, what allows some tumors to build up resistance to therapy, and which drug is likely to work best with which patient.

"The MRF, together with the melanoma scientific and research communities, is unnerved that melanoma continues to effect hundreds of thousands of people every year. Because of this, we felt it absolutely necessary to spearhead this discussion among leading melanoma researchers," continued Turnham. "To decrease the incidence and mortality of melanoma, a number of critical questions must be answered. We're pleased this white paper does just that."

The white paper includes a roadmap that outlines the challenges and opportunities across the melanoma landscape. Key takeaways include:
  • Proper use of sunscreen can reduce incidence of melanoma by up to 50%. Current sunscreens block portions of both UVA and UVB, but not everything within those bands. More research needs to be done about what range of wavelengths in the UV band needs to be blocked.
  • Melanoma cells have demonstrated the ability to remain dormant in the body for many years--even decades. Understanding how these cells can survive and what causes them to awaken and progress is a vital component to melanoma treatment.
  • Currently 25 biopsies are performed for every melanoma found. Given the incidence of melanoma, and a demonstrated 40-70% underreporting rate, this translates to more than 4 million biopsies performed to diagnose 170,000 melanomas. Developing more precise methods of diagnosis will reduce anxiety for patients and significantly benefit healthcare costs.
  • Clinicians are seeing resistance to immunotherapy develop after an initial positive response. Identifying how acquired resistance happens--whether with targeted therapy or immunotherapy--and how to overcome resistance is essential in maximizing the benefit of these treatments.

"Melanoma has several unique characteristics, which pose challenges for its prevention and treatment" said Ze'ev A. Ronai, Ph.D. Professor and Chief Scientific Advisor, Sanford Burnham Perbys Medical Discovery Institute, and Co-Chair of the MRF's Scientific Advisory Committee. "Continued research is key to understanding the mechanisms behind the disease's development and growth, and is necessary to advance the treatment of - and potential cure for - melanoma. This document will help researchers, funders and advocates determine how their approach to melanoma fits within the current landscape and future needs."
To access an executive summary of the white paper, "The State of Melanoma: Challenges and Opportunities," click here.


Related Melanoma Articles:

Blood test for deadly eye melanoma
A simple blood test could soon become the latest monitoring tool for the early detection of melanoma in the eye.
Analysis of melanoma in US by age groups
This study used registry data to determine annual rates of melanoma in pediatric, adolescent, young adult and adult age groups, and the findings suggest an apparent decrease among adolescent and young adults between 2006 and 2015 but increases in older adults.
Vitamin D dials down the aggression in melanoma cells
Vitamin D influences the behaviour of melanoma cells in the lab by making them less aggressive, Cancer Research UK scientists have found.
B cells linked to immunotherapy for melanoma
Immunotherapy uses our body's own immune system to fight cancer.
Five things to know about melanoma
'Five things to know about ... melanoma' in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) provides a brief overview of this malignant skin cancer for physicians and patients.
Describing aspects of melanoma progression
Three related articles and an editorial focus on various aspects of melanoma progression.
Is your melanoma hot enough for immunotherapy?
University of Colorado Cancer Center study presented at AACR 2019 shows that tumors with mutations in genes leading to over-activation of the NF-kB signaling pathway were more than three times as likely to respond to anti-PD1 immunotherapy compared with tumors in which these changes were absent.
BU researchers discover therapeutic target of melanoma
Researchers have identified a biomarker and a possible new therapy for melanoma.
Seawater bacteria provides leads to fight melanoma
Malignant melanoma can be a particularly dangerous form of cancer, and more therapeutic options are needed.
New drug combination could be more effective against melanoma
A new study from MIT suggests that combining kinase inhibitors with experimental drugs known as ribonucleases could lead to better results.
More Melanoma News and Melanoma Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans 2.0
More than test scores or good grades–what do kids need for the future? This hour, TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, both during and after this time of crisis. Guests include educators Richard Culatta and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#556 The Power of Friendship
It's 2020 and times are tough. Maybe some of us are learning about social distancing the hard way. Maybe we just are all a little anxious. No matter what, we could probably use a friend. But what is a friend, exactly? And why do we need them so much? This week host Bethany Brookshire speaks with Lydia Denworth, author of the new book "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 3: Shared Immunity
More than a million people have caught Covid-19, and tens of thousands have died. But thousands more have survived and recovered. A week or so ago (aka, what feels like ten years in corona time) producer Molly Webster learned that many of those survivors possess a kind of superpower: antibodies trained to fight the virus. Not only that, they might be able to pass this power on to the people who are sick with corona, and still in the fight. Today we have the story of an experimental treatment that's popping up all over the country: convalescent plasma transfusion, a century-old procedure that some say may become one of our best weapons against this devastating, new disease.   If you have recovered from Covid-19 and want to donate plasma, national and local donation registries are gearing up to collect blood.  To sign up with the American Red Cross, a national organization that works in local communities, head here.  To find out more about the The National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project, which we spoke about in our episode, including information on clinical trials or plasma donation projects in your community, go here.  And if you are in the greater New York City area, and want to donate convalescent plasma, head over to the New York Blood Center to sign up. Or, register with specific NYC hospitals here.   If you are sick with Covid-19, and are interested in participating in a clinical trial, or are looking for a plasma donor match, check in with your local hospital, university, or blood center for more; you can also find more information on trials at The National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project. And lastly, Tatiana Prowell's tweet that tipped us off is here. This episode was reported by Molly Webster and produced by Pat Walters. Special thanks to Drs. Evan Bloch and Tim Byun, as well as the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  Support Radiolab today at