News & Press

MRF awards more than $1M in melanoma research grants for 2008.

                            Heather R. Huhman
                           Jones Public Affairs
                           (202) 742.5259
                            [email protected]

-Melanoma Research Foundation Continues to Fund World-Class Melanoma Research-
HILLSBOROUGH, NJ – The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) recently approved 2008 grants through the MRF Research Grant Program totaling more than $1 million, providing a substantial boost to the melanoma research community.  This initiative supports promising medical research that furthers the goal of developing an effective treatment and possible cure of malignant melanoma, while encouraging scientists and clinicians to join in this mission. 
“We are particularly excited about these grants as they support young scientists with a dream for finding a cure and experienced scientists with a vision for the future of cancer research,” said Randy Lomax, Chairman, Board of Directors, Melanoma Research Foundation.  “This funding represents our strong and ongoing commitment to support medical research for melanoma.”
The newly awarded grants were provided as part of the MRF’s Career Development Grant Program and Established Investigator Grant Program.  The Career Development Grant provides funding of up to $50,000 per year for two years to investigators who are beginning a research career emphasizing melanoma-related projects.  The Established Investigator Grant provides funding of up to $100,000 per year for two years to established researchers in melanoma or those in closely related fields who wish to move into melanoma research. 
These grants, awarded through a scientific peer-review system paneled by leading clinical and basic melanoma researchers, are made possible by charitable donations in support of innovative melanoma research.  In fact, two of the grants recently provided were awarded in the names of Danny Federici – keyboardist for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and melanoma patient – and the late James Robbins – former president and chief executive officer of COX Communications – respectively, for their generous donations to the MRF.  The recipients include:

Career Development Grants:

  • Dr. Paul Antony, University of Maryland – Baltimore, “Inducing Potent Anti-Tumor Immunity Against Melanoma Using Cytokine/Antibody Immune Complexes”
  • Dr. Susanne Schlisio, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, “Neuronal Apoptosis by the Prolyl  Hydroxylase EglN3: Oxygen Sensing and Cancer”
  • Dr. Soheil Dadras, Stanford University, “The Role of Small Ribonucleic Acids in the Progression of Cutaneous Melanoma”
  • Dr. Karen Taraszka Hastings, University of Arizona, “Role of Lysosomal Thiolreductase GILT in Activation of Melanoma-Specific T Lymphocytes”
  • Dr. William Kim, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “Interrogating the Role of HIF in Malignant Melanoma”
  • Dr. Jedd Wolchok, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, “Particle Mediated Epidermal Delivery of Xenogeneic gp100 DNA Vaccines for Melanoma” (The grant awarded to Dr. Wolchok was designated and funded by the Live4Life Foundation.)

Established Investigator Grants:

  • Dr. Edward DeFabo, George Washington University, “Mechanisms of UVB Initiation of Melanoma: A Novel In Vivo Approach”
  • Dr. Boris C Bastian, University of California – San Francisco, “Integrating Genetic and Morphologic Features of Melanoma to Improve Disease Classification”
  • Dr. Patrick Hwu, MD Anderson Cancer Center, “Regulatory Immune Cell Interactions in the Microenvironment of Melanoma Metastases”

“We continue to rely on the generosity of others to help fund innovative research to further the goal of developing effective treatments and ultimately a cure for melanoma,” said Linda Pilkington, Executive Director, Melanoma Research Foundation.  “In 2008, the MRF looks forward to providing crucial funding to help bridge the gap in melanoma research to ensure that patients of tomorrow have the help they need.”

Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, is one of the fastest growing cancers in the U.S., and can strike people of all ages, all races and both sexes.  One in 50 people have a lifetime risk of developing melanoma.  In fact, in 2008, more than 62,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with invasive melanoma, resulting in an estimated 8,400 deaths. Until there is a cure for melanoma, research is crucial to ensure patients of tomorrow have the help and hope they deserve.
To learn more about donating to MRF and its research programs, please visit www.melanoma.org.
About the Melanoma Research Foundation
The Melanoma Research Foundation is the largest private, national organization devoted to melanoma in the United States.  The Foundation is committed to the support of medical research in finding effective treatments and eventually a cure for melanoma.  The Foundation also educates patients and physicians about prevention, diagnosis and treatment of melanoma, while acting as an advocate for the melanoma community to raise awareness of this disease and the need for a cure.  The MRF Web site is the premiere source for melanoma information seekers.  More information is available at www.melanoma.org.
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