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Conquer Cancer, Melanoma Research Foundation Announce ASCO Registry Melanoma Research Grant Recipient

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Conquer Cancer®, the ASCO Foundation, and the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) are pleased to announce Leslie K. Dennis, PhD, MS, of The University of Arizona, as the recipient of the 2022 ASCO Registry Melanoma Research Grant.

Conquer Cancer and the MRF established this new grant to foster research using data derived from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Survey on COVID-19 in Oncology Registry (the “ASCO Registry”) to inform the cancer community about the patterns of symptoms and severity of COVID-19 among patients with cancer, as well as how COVID-19 is impacting the delivery of cancer care and patient outcomes.

The award is designed to provide funding to qualified clinical oncology, health services, or data science researchers to support the rapid analysis of ASCO Registry data, manuscript development, and the dissemination of findings into high-impact scientific, peer-reviewed manuscripts. The grant provides funding of $30,000 for one year and access to deidentified ASCO Registry data for melanoma-focused research. The award period is from August 2022 to July 2023.

”This is a unique collaboration between Conquer Cancer and Melanoma Research Foundation, and we are thrilled to help support Dr. Dennis’s team to delve into the ASCO Registry database to help understand how the COVID-19 pandemic specifically affects outcomes in patients with melanoma,” said Sunandana Chandra, MD, MS, chair of the ASCO Registry Melanoma Research Grant Committee.

Dr. Dennis is a cancer epidemiologist whose research focus has been in melanoma for 30 years including trend analyses of SEER data, risk factor analyses, meta-analyses, and conducting case-control studies. She will lead a research team that will examine how melanoma patients undergoing treatment at oncology practices are affected by having a positive COVID-19 test. They will evaluate how COVID affects the outcomes of melanoma patients on active anti-cancer treatment and how COVID-19 severity changes survival by stage of melanoma (localized, regional, metastatic) among COVID infected patients. Evidence based information on negative effects of clinics stopping treatment or scheduling of patients on survival can be used to get clinical practices to better prepare for future outbreaks. Additionally, by understanding risk factors that decrease an individual patients’ survival, will help implement risk screening of patients during COVID-19 outbreaks so that those at higher risk can take more precautions to prevent COVID-19 infections.

“The MRF is committed to advancing research that will lead to better outcomes, improved treatment options and ultimately a cure for those impacted by melanoma,” said MRF CEO Kyleigh LiPira. “We applaud Dr. Dennis and her critical efforts to research and better understand the impact of COVID-19 on melanoma patients in treatment.”

This grant is supported by the MRF, the largest independent organization devoted to melanoma. Since 1998, the MRF has funded over $20.4 million in melanoma research, transforming the landscape of treatment development. Committed to the support of medical research in finding effective treatments and eventually a cure for melanoma, the MRF also educates patients and physicians about prevention, diagnosis and the treatment of melanoma. The MRF is a committed advocate for the melanoma community, helping to raise awareness of the disease and the need for a cure. The MRF website is the premier source for people seeking information about melanoma.