Scientific Initiatives

MRF Breakthrough Consortium

Accelerating Research and Treatment Development

Responding to a need for greater investigation into the urgent need for combination treatments, the MRF convened a meeting of leading doctors and researchers from melanoma centers of excellence across the United States. This meeting led to the creation of the MRF Breakthrough Consortium (MRFBC) in 2010.

The MRFBC is a national network of 22 centers of excellence in melanoma that collaborate to accelerate the research and development of the most promising therapies in melanoma treatment in order to deliver curative options to patients. The Consortium institutions have a demonstrated track record of receiving NIH/peer-reviewed funding for multidisciplinary research in melanoma, publications in major medical journals, presentations at the major cancer and melanoma meetings, clinical trial expertise and patient care. Oversight is provided by the MRFBC Steering Committee.

Since its founding, the Consortium has made great progress towards its core strategies as outlined below:

  • Design and execute high-impact clinical trials and combinations of novel single agent therapeutics

    • The MRFBC has worked with partners to develop and launch multicenter trials including: 4 in BRAF mutant melanoma, 3 in wild-type (non-BRAF) melanoma, and 1 in mucosal/acral lentiginous melanoma.
  • Develop a collaborative translational research agenda across trials

    • The MRFBC has developed two translational science projects that successfully competed for funding. Further, BRAF mutant melanoma specimens have been dispersed from the Virtual Repository to three high-impact biomarker research projects. The MRFBC has also been fortunate to fund three Team Science Young Investigator Awards focused on Immuno-Oncology.
  • Develop a high quality, virtual specimen repository operating under harmonized SOPs and compliant with regulatory requirements

    • Over 800 specimens have been collected in the MRFBC virtual repository. Additional specimens are currently being collected from patients with mucosal melanoma and acral lentiginous melanoma.
  • Support animal modeling in appropriate genetic models of melanoma through collaborative preclinical efforts, thereby accelerating identification of optimal regimens to test in humans in the MRFBC

    • Funding from the MRFBC has supported the study of 40 compounds in a variety of genetically relevant cell lines in order to determine optimal combinations of targeted therapies.