Melanoma Research Foundation

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Celebrating Women in Science during International Women?s Month & Creating Awareness around Mucosal Melanoma

From the desk of MRF CEO Kyleigh LiPira:

This month, the MRF celebrated several women clinician/researchers who have dedicated their careers to helping melanoma patients and moving research forward that will benefit cutaneous (skin), pediatric and those with the rarer forms of melanoma such as ocular (eye) and mucosal (mucous membranes). From medical students to established investigators, the MRF is committed to funding the entire career spectrum. Moreover, we involve our experts in many facets of our research, education and advocacy pillars ? from reviewing and scoring our grants, to being subject matter experts on webinars, to joining us on Capitol Hill to advocate for patients on access issues. To learn more about the Women in Science featured this month including Marlana M. Orloff, MD, Lauren Clai Morehead, PhD and Brittani Seynnaeve, MD, MS, click here. We also encourage you to donate today and help fund women in science grants and contribute to groundbreaking research initiatives aimed at discovering new treatments and potentially even a cure for melanoma.  

March is also dedicated to mucosal melanoma awareness through our #OutOfTheShadows campaign. For those diagnosed with this form of melanoma (which is ~1% of all diagnosed melanoma cases), it can feel isolating and discouraging. The MRF has funded several research projects in this area. You can view the mucosal melanoma funded research projects by clicking here and filtering ?mucosal melanoma? through the ?melanoma type? search dropdown feature. We hosted our first ever patient-investigator scientific summit in December 2022 and the results of this meeting were featured in Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research. We also hosted several educational webinars which can be viewed here as well as advocate on telehealth access which is critical to helping those with the rarer forms of melanoma gain out of state access to the top specialists in the field. To learn more about telehealth equity and access, click here.  

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With gratitude,

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Medical Student Grantees Poised to Advance Melanoma Treatment

This year, we proudly announce 14 new Medical Student Research Grant awardees. These research grants support promising investigators early in their scientific careers under the mentorship of established melanoma investigators in the melanoma field. The large number of grants awarded this year was made possible by the incredible generosity of donors like the family and friends who have been strong supporters of the MRF for many years. Visit the Funded Research page to view all of the grant recipients awarded to-date, and to learn more about how you can support the next treatment breakthrough, please email

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Inaugural Lethal Melanoma Summit

On February 26, the MRF hosted the first Lethal Melanoma Summit which gathered top physicians from around the country to discuss important issues surrounding lethal melanoma. Presentations covered such topics as understanding the patient journey, gene expression profiling in lethal melanoma, the impact of COVID-19 on melanoma, understanding melanoma in US military veterans, utilizing AI to discover metastasizing melanoma and tumor factors associated with melanoma mortality. Existing challenges, health and data gaps, plus next steps were also discussed. More to come!

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Advocates are the Voice of the Melanoma Community

This year, we welcomed 50 advocates to Washington, DC for an impactful three-day program to meet with legislators on behalf of the melanoma community to transform melanoma care & advance better outcomes. Our nationwide advocates conducted 54 meetings with their representatives and senators on key issues such as funding for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) in support of melanoma research; support funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Cancer Institute (NCI) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to remove barriers that would limit sunscreen ingredients and sunscreen access for Americans and increase access to telehealth by advancing the CONNECT for Health Act. Make sure to check out the photo album on Facebook and the Advocacy Days Playlist on our YouTube Channel.

Thank you to our event sponsors Bristol Myers SquibbNovartis, Merck, Iovance, Replimune & Kenvue.   

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Patient Highlight: Elaine Sisk Shares her Experience as an Advocate during Advocacy Days

Earlier this month, Elaine Sisk attended her 2nd MRF Advocacy Days as a 6+ year survivor of advanced stage IV metastatic cutaneous melanoma. Elaine shares, ?I wanted to become more supportive of the MRF mission and explore opportunities in advocacy. In 2023, I participated in MRF Advocacy Days which was an enlightening and empowering experience. As a returning advocate for the 2024 MRF Advocacy Days, I was more confident leading the discussions with Congressional staff. I have a better perspective on speaking with these offices and how to balance the details of the requests with my patient story.? To delve deeper into Elaine?s remarkable melanoma journey, click here

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Patient and Caregiver Educational Events and Webinar Offerings

Together Against Melanoma: Patient and Caregiver Symposia Series

Join us for our in-person and virtual cutaneous melanoma patient symposium in partnership with the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University on April 27 to learn the latest in diagnosis, treatment and supportive care surrounding cutaneous melanoma. To learn more and to register, click here

Recordings from previous patient symposia are available to view on the MRF YouTube page.

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The Latest in TIL Cell Therapy - Newest Ask the Expert Webinar Recording Available 

On March 19, we had an informative discussion on TIL Cell Therapy, the newest groundbreaking treatment for advanced melanoma featuring Dr. Allison Betof Warner, Director of the Melanoma Program at the Stanford Cancer Institute and Jamie Tomasko, cutaneous melanoma survivor and advocate. During the webinar, patients and caregivers learned about the efficacy, durability, process and timeframe of this new FDA-approved treatment, called AMTAGVI. If you were unable to join the live webinar, or want to revisit the presentation, the recordings are now available on the MRF YouTube channel.

 Thank you to Iovance for sponsoring this month?s webinar.   

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The Ocular Melanoma (OM) Connection: Upcoming Events for the OM Community

OM Meet & Greet

Join share your story, engage with other OM patients and caregivers and meet Ryann Daniels, our new Education Programs Coordinator, Rare Subtypes, to learn and ask questions about the upcoming Eyes on a Cure: Ocular Melanoma Patient and Caregiver Symposium on May 3 - 5. This informal session hopes to answer any questions before the meeting, meet other OM patients that plan to attend and share your thoughts about the CURE OM initiative with Ryann. Register today here

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Eyes on a Cure: Ocular Melanoma Patient & Caregiver Symposium

The Eyes on a Cure: Ocular Melanoma Patient & Caregiver Symposium will be held on May 3-5, 2024 in Boston, MA! Join OM patients and caregivers from across the US and virtually for three days of learning about the latest news in research and treatment development, OM education, patient support resources and more. Click the link here to register and join us in May! Please note, the deadline for scholarships is April 3, so please email for more information. 

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Dermatology Advisory Council and National Dermatologist Day

During the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) annual conference, the MRF hosted its Dermatology Advisory Council (DAC) meeting bringing together a geographically and sub-specialty diverse group of board-certified dermatologists. Collectively, the DAC provides their expertise and guidance to support our mission areas of research, education and advocacy including awareness, prevention and early detection initiatives, review of research grants and participation in federal prevention advocacy efforts. We also welcomed our corporate partners, MRF funded researchers and dermatologists to our sixth annual #GetNaked reception. We are thankful to our event sponsors: Bristol Myers Squibb, EltaMD, Neutrogena and TiZO for their support. 

The MRF also participated in the first annual National Dermatologist Day on March 13. This day is intended to commemorate the dermatology community and raise awareness around the importance of sun safety, monthly self-skin-checks and annual dermatological skin checks.                           

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Entering into the 2024 Miles for Melanoma Season

With the 2024 season looming just over a month away, it's time to mark your calendars! Registration is now open for upcoming events in New England, MA (May 4), Memphis, TN (May 4), Washington, DC (May 11) and Denver, CO (June 8). Seize the opportunity to register early, kick-start your team recruitment efforts and unlock exciting fundraising incentives. Stay tuned for more events opening for registration soon by visiting the Miles for Melanoma homepage to discover a run/walk near you! Get set to lace up your shoes, hit the pavement and make a difference by raising life-saving funds for the melanoma community!

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Upcoming Events

April 3: CURE OM Virtual Meet and Greet

April 5 - 10: American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)

April 27: Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northerwestern University Patient and Caregiver Symposium

May 3 - 5: Eyes on a Cure: Ocular Melanoma Patient and Caregiver Symposium

May 4: Memphis Miles for Melanoma

May 4: New England Miles for Melanoma

May 11: DC Miles for Melanoma 

May 18: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center Patient and Caregiver Symposium

May 20: UNC Lineberger Ciomprehensive Cancer Center Patient and Caregiver Symposium

May 31: MRF Breakthrough Consortium (MRFBC) Meeting 

May 31 - June 4: American Association of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)

June 8: Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center of Georgetown University Patient and Caregiver Symposium 

June 8: Denver Miles for Melanoma

In the News

FDA Approves First Cellular Therapy to Treat Patients with Unresectable or Metastatic Melanoma - U.S. Food & Drug Administration 

ARPA-H Launches Program to Transform Cancer Care - ARPA-H

Florida Legislature Passes Free Skin Cancer Screening Requirement - Medscape

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