Melanoma Research Foundation

A Year of Progress and Hope Because of You

From the desk of MRF CEO Kyleigh LiPira:

Each day at the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) we work with patients and their loved ones to invest in research that will lead to future treatments, provide them with resources to guide and inform their treatment decisions and collectively use our voice to advocate on the issues not only impacting the cancer community but specifically those battling melanoma. It is because of the generosity of this community that we are able to accomplish these things. We are not funded by the government or a private benefactor, we receive our funding from the community we serve and for that we are grateful.

This year ushered in two new FDA approved treatments, the first-ever in uveal metastatic melanoma and a LAG 3 treatment for unresectable metastatic melanoma and pediatric patients 12 and over. This now brings the total number of available FDA-approved treatments to 18! Progress continues toward additional treatment breakthroughs, including positive results from a recent clinical trial which you can read about in the next section. None of this progress would have been possible without this community funding research, participating in clinical trials, advocating for federal funding on Capitol Hill and sharing their own personal stories with lawmakers. We will be hosting an exciting webinar on January 20th which will summarize the important research breakthroughs in 2022 and how these advancements benefit patients. You can register here.

As we look to 2023 we are filled with hope but also the weight of so much that remains to be done to help patients and their loved ones. We are optimistic for more FDA approvals and effective treatments that can benefit patients. We hope you will consider making a tax-deductible year-end gift to help sustain our efforts and commitment to this amazing community.

With gratitude,


Experimental Vaccine Reduces Risk of Cancer Recurrence

Encouraging news! Results of a phase 2 clinical trial led by Moderna and Merck found that an experimental personalized mRNA vaccine combined with the immunotherapy Keytruda reduced the risk of recurrence or death from melanoma in patients who had already had surgery to remove the cancer. In the trial of stage 3 and stage 4 melanoma patients, treatment with both the immunotherapy and the vaccine reduced the risk of melanoma recurrence or death by 44%. A phase 3 clinical trial, as well as studies of the combination for other cancer types, is planned for next year.

Uniting Mucosal Melanoma Patients and Researchers

On December 16 in New York City, mucosal melanoma patients and caregivers joined researchers at a hybrid workshop focused on increasing collaboration between the patient and scientific communities. The meeting focused on topics such as clinical trials, adjuvant/neoadjuvant therapy, immune checkpoint treatment and barriers to more effective care. In-person and online participants joined in conversations with experts from institutions including Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Beijing Cancer Hospital, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Georgetown, Northwestern and Columbia Universities.

Thank you to Alkermes, Bristol Myers Squibb, Nektar and Novartis for sponsoring this educational opportunity.


This year saw significant advances in the melanoma research community, from new treatment approvals to encouraging progress in groundbreaking clinical trials. On January 20 at 1pm ET, join our first Ask the Expert webinar of 2023 to discuss these advances and ask questions about what lies ahead. Adil Daud, MD (UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center) and Kim Margolin, MD, FACP, FASCO (St. John's Cancer Institute) will lead an engaging discussion and look back on what was accomplished in the previous year, key takeaways from major meetings including ASCO, ESMO and SITC, updates on new treatments and ongoing work in the field of melanoma science. Click here to register today and then bring your questions on Friday, January 20!

Thank you to Iovance Biotherapeutics for sponsoring this important educational opportunity.

Eyes on a Cure: Ocular Melanoma Patient Symposium - Register Now!

In August, we hosted our first in-person ocular melanoma (OM) patient and caregiver symposium since 2019 (click here to watch session recordings and participant testimonials), and the next meeting is now just months away! The next Eyes on a Cure: Patient and Caregiver Symposium will be on March 31 - April 2, 2023 at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. Over the course of three days, participants will learn the latest news in OM research and treatment development, current and upcoming clinical trials, receive helpful education and awareness resources and take part in a variety of psychosocial support activities. Additional details including a draft agenda will available in the near future. Click here to register today, and we look forward to seeing our friends in the OM community this spring in Florida!

Live Discussion: Making a Melanoma Treatment Plan

Treatment options for patients with metastatic melanoma have expanded beyond surgery in recent years to include non-surgical options, such as immunotherapies and their combinations, leading to improved outcomes and better quality of life for patients.

Join an expert panel of dermatology and oncology specialists live on Wednesday, January 25 at 10 AM ET (and later that same day on-demand). for a 1-hour online presentation: “Partnering with Your Team to Select Treatment for Newly Diagnosed Melanoma.” Panelists will help patients and caregivers understand how new immunotherapy combinations work, side effects associated with treatment, and develop strategies to maintain quality of life. Patients will also be empowered to communicate with their health care team and participate confidently in their own care. Register by clicking here.

Advocacy Days: Sign Up Today!

For the first time since 2020, the MRF is hosting our annual Advocacy Days in person! Join melanoma patients, caregivers, supporters and advocates from across the country on March 5-7 in Washington, DC to learn about issues facing the melanoma community, our community's key legislative priorities and then share your story with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Sign up here to receive all the latest updates about this important event, and then join us in our nation's capital to be the voice of the melanoma community!

2023 Federal Funding: How It Affects the Melanoma Community

Last week, Congress voted on the omnibus bill to fund the government for fiscal year 2023, which President Biden signed into law on December 29. Several key issues affecting the melanoma community were included in the bill. Of note, the Melanoma Research Program (MRP), which receives funding under the defense-funded Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP), received $40 million in dedicated funding. In addition to this important research, the omnibus continues Medicare’s expanded access to telehealth by extending COVID-19 telehealth flexibilities for an additional two years, through December 31, 2024. The omnibus also provided a $1 million increase to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) skin cancer education and prevention program, for a total of $5 million. The accompanying report encouraged the CDC to partner with local governments, business, health, education, community, non-profit and faith-based sectors as they develop their programming. Lastly, the omnibus requires the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take action on items intended to modernize and promote clinical trial diversity.


Miles for Melanoma Crosses the Finish Line

The Miles for Melanoma season came to an exciting conclusion in Los Angeles on December 3, where our generous community came together to walk, run and raise life-saving funds for the future of melanoma research. At 16 events from coast to coast, THANK YOU to everyone who helped make this Miles for Melanoma season a tremendous success!

If you attended a Miles for Melanoma event this year, we want to hear from you! Please take a moment to fill out this brief survey to tell us what you liked about the event, and which areas we can improve to make next year's run/walk even better. We look forward to seeing you at a run/walk in your community!

Research Grants: Applications Now Available

Since 1998, the MRF has funded 269 innovative, high impact, basic, translational and clinical research projects, totaling more than $23 million in grant support. This year, the MRF awarded over $1,913,000 in new melanoma research funding. In 2023, the MRF will offer Established Investigator Awards, Career Development Awards, a CURE OM Award, as well as Medical Student Awards, Resident-Fellow Awards, Mid-Career Bridge Grants and a MRF Breakthrough Consortium (MRFBC) Pilot Translational Award. For more information about each award, eligibility requirements and application instructions, visit the Resarch Grant RFP page and download the Request for Proposals. Applications will be accepted beginning on January 10, 2023.


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