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Progress is Power!

From the desk of MRF CEO Kyleigh LiPira:





March was truly groundbreaking for melanoma patients and their loved ones as a new drug (Opdualag™) has been FDA approved for unresectable or metastatic melanoma. Opdualag, a LAG-3 antibody called relatlimab, has been approved in a fixed-dose combination with the PD-1 inhibitor Opdivo® (nivolumab), introducing a new category of immunotherapy combination treatments. Studies have shown that it more than doubles the time patients with previously untreated advanced melanoma can live without disease progression compared to Opdivo alone and that it cut the risk of death by 20% over Opdivo, an improvement that narrowly missed statistical significance but was “clinically meaningful.”

Also this month, the FDA announced an Investigational New Drug approval for TALEN®-Edited Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocyte (TIL) in unresectable or metastatic melanoma and Stage III or IV Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. The MRF is grateful to patient advocates like Katie and Jamie who participated in clinical trials that helped drive progress and more options for melanoma patients. Further trials are expected to open later this year, offering more patients access to this therapy. Finally, there is continued excitement in the rare subtype community over the February approval of Kimmtrak® – the first-ever FDA approved drug for metastatic uveal melanoma. In the coming weeks and months, the MRF will be building out learning opportunities for our community to learn more about what these approvals mean along with empowering and educating patients.

In this issue, get to know our recent medical student award grantees who are helping to advance treatments for the melanoma community. Progress is Power!




With gratitude,


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Congratulations to our 2022 Medical Student Grant Recipients!

In 2022, the MRF is proud to award 11 Medical Student Research Awards. These 1-year, $3,000 grants support medical students who are interested in pursuing a career in melanoma research by funding research proposals on a variety of topics pertaining to melanoma prevention, diagnosis and treatment. All of the 2022 Medical Student Awards were funded through the generosity of individual donors. The 2022 grant recipients, listed in the order their photos appear above, are included below. Click on each proposal title for more information about their research:

Apply Now for Research Funding or to Join the Patient Grant Review Panel

The MRF Research Program is excited to share two current grant opportunities, and a reminder for patients and caregivers who are interested in joining the research grant review process. Application deadlines for each opportunity are approaching soon!

Mid-Career Bridge Grants support established researchers with pre-existing R01s, who have applied for a NIH R01 grant that was scored, but not funded. To support and sustain these investigators while they generate the data for the Response to Reviewers in the revised R01 (A1) submission, the MRF is offering bridge funding of up to $100,000 for one year. More information can be found in the Mid-Career Bridge Grant RFP. These awards will be competed 3 times in 2022 and application submission deadlines are on April 15th, August 15th, or December 15th, 2022.

The ASCO Registry Melanoma Research Grant, created in partnership between the MRF, Conquer Cancer and the ASCO Foundation, is a new grant program that provides funding and access to data 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. Additional information about the grant can be found on the ASCO Registry Melanoma Research Grant page. The application deadline is May 9, 2022.

The MRF Patient Grant Review Panel incorporates a patient-centric focus into the grant review process. Operating in collaboration with a traditional peer review panel of scientific professionals, the patient review panel is made up of melanoma patients, caregivers, friends or family, with or without formal science training. This process ensures that the melanoma patient’s point of view is critically represented during the grant proposal process and increases the pool of skilled melanoma advocates to participate in other scientific advisory or review committees at cancer centers or various drug development stakeholders. More information can be found here, and applications are due by April 25, 2022.

To learn more about the MRF's work to advance the field of melanoma science, visit the MRF Research Center:




MRF Research Center

Attend a Melanoma Patient Symposium

The 2022 Melanoma Patient Symposium series is underway with four upcoming events in the month of May offering both in-person and virtual learning opportunities. On Monday, May 2, the University of North Carolina Patient Symposium will offer both in-person and virtual participation options, followed by the University of Pennsylvania Focus on Melanoma Symposium on Friday, May 6 and held entirely virtual. On Saturday, May 6, the University of Utah Huntsman Cancer Institute Patient Symposium will welcome in-person and virtual participants, and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Patient Symposium will be entirely virtual on Saturday, May 21. To view the entire list of upcoming educational events and see recordings from previous years' presentations, visit the Patient & Caregiver Meetings page.

The Miles for Melanoma Season is Here!

Following an incredible season in 2021 that raised over $800,000 for melanoma research, education and advocacy, the first run/walks of 2022 are now open for registration! Click below to visit the brand new Miles for Melanoma website, watch a recap video from last year's events and view the entire 2022 event calendar. If you are part of our Estero, Florida, Washington, DC, Boston, MA, Memphis, TN and Denver, CO communities, registration is now open for your events! Form a team to start fundraising today, and we will see you this spring!

Miles for Melanoma

Play a Round of Golf to Help End Melanoma

The MRF has partnered with the Joan L. Kidd MD Fight for Life Foundation’s 2022 Fight for Life Golf Series. Golfers of all skill levels are invited to play at their home golf clubs or any golf course in the U.S. to support melanoma research, education and advocacy. During the tournament’s spring series, held April – early June, golfers can book a tee time at their preferred course during tournament weekends. Log your scores via the Chipd In mobile APP and earn cumulative ranking points each week for a chance to qualify for the in-person National Championship in Orlando, Florida June 3-5. Entry fees will be donated to support the MRF’s work to advance the research and science of melanoma.

For more tournament information including the spring series kick off on April 1, click below.

Fight for Life Golf Series
 

Upcoming Events





 

  • August 7, 2022: Miles for Melanoma Cleveland
  • August 20, 2022: Miles for Melanoma Twin Cities
  • August 27, 2022: Miles for Melanoma Philadelphia
  • September 18, 2022: Miles for Melanoma New Jersey
  • September 25, 2022: Miles for Melanoma Chicago
  • October 1, 2022: Miles for Melanoma New York City
  • October 8, 2022: Miles for Melanoma San Diego
  • October 29, 2022: Miles for Melanoma Los Angeles
  • November 5, 2022: Miles for Melanoma Atlanta
  • November 13, 2022: Miles for Melanoma San Francisco
 
 




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