MRF Blog

Research Team Award Recipients Announced

April 18, 2019 | Categories: News, Research

The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) is pleased to announce the recipients of the Melanoma Research Foundation Breakthrough Consortium – Bristol-Myers Squibb (MRFBC-BMS) Young Investigator Research Team Award to Advance the Field of Translational Immuno-Oncology. The selected research team is led by primary investigator Genevieve Boland, MD, PhD (Massachusetts General Hospital; Mentor: Keith Flaherty, MD) and is comprised of David Liu, MD (Dana Farber Cancer Institute; Mentor: Eliezer Van Allen, MD) and Srinivas Saladi, PhD (Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary; Mentor: David Fisher, MD, PhD).

This two-year grant awards a total of $300,000 for the study of a melanoma tumor’s ability to resist treatment with certain immunotherapies. The award was made possible through the efforts of the MRF Breakthrough Consortium (MRFBC) as well as the generous support of Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS). The proposal is titled Characterizing the Role of the Hippo Pathway During Melanoma Immunotherapy and is described in the following lay abstract:

There are data that suggest an important pathway in cancer called the Hippo pathway contributes to a melanoma tumor’s ability to resist therapy and acquire aggressive behavior when treated with targeted therapies. This project will study whether this pathway influences whether a patient responds or is resistant when treated with immunotherapy. Our goal is to determine whether concurrent inhibition of the Hippo pathway in combination with immunotherapy is complementary.

In this multidisciplinary team project, we will first examine tumors from patients with melanoma who have been treated with immunotherapies to determine if the Hippo pathway is influencing response or resistance to therapy (Aim 1). If so, we will ascertain this mechanism (Aim 2).  Finally, we will examine this pathway in combination with immunotherapy in a mouse model of melanoma to study if concurrent inhibition of the Hippo pathway will optimize response to immunotherapy (Aim 3). This award pulls together a unique team specializing in surgical oncology, computational biology and basic science.

The Melanoma Research Foundation congratulates Dr. Genevieve Boland, Dr. David Liu and Dr. Srinivas Saladi on this achievement and looks forward to the results of this innovative research team. For more information about how the MRF supports a broad field of melanoma science, including a list of previous grant recipients and upcoming funding opportunities, please visit the MRF Research Center.

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