Melanoma Research Alliance

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  • MelanomaResearchAlliance

    .

    Accelerating Progress: Moving Toward a Cure for Melanoma 2008-2011 Report

  • I n March, animmunotherapy calledYervoy (ipilimumab)became the first drug

    approved by the U.S. Food

    and Drug Administration

    (FDA) in 13 years for

    metastatic melanoma. Then the molecularly

    targeted agent Zelboraf (vemurafenib), an

    inhibitor of a mutated protein found in about

    half of melanomas, was approved by the FDA

    in August. These breakthroughs underscore

    remarkable progress that has been unfolding in

    the four years since the founding of the Melanoma

    Research Alliance (MRA), a unique organization

    whose mission is to find and fund the most

    promising research worldwide. MRA is working

    to better prevent, detect early and treat deadly

    skin cancer, toward a day when no one suffers

    or dies from melanoma.

    No one person or organization can win the

    battle against melanoma alone. We are thankful

    to all who have engaged with us in this fight

    researchers, supporters, allies, partners, and more.

    This report offers a

    retrospective of the four

    years since the founding

    of MRA, including the

    progress we have made,

    a highlight of scientific

    findings, and a look to

    the future of melanoma research. MRA funding has

    been vital to unlocking the best treatments and

    continues to offer hope for better therapies and

    ultimately a cure.

    As the pace of progress quickens, MRA is

    re-doubling its efforts to accelerate research.

    With more than $30 million awarded for promising

    research, MRA has catalyzed strategic and collabo-

    rative research efforts to discover new biomarkers

    of treatment response, demystify drug resistance

    mechanisms, and improve effectiveness through

    combination therapies. MRA is working with all

    who care about defeating melanoma, moving from

    the year of melanoma to the year of the

    melanoma cure as quickly as possible.

    DEBRA BLACK , co-founder and chairWENDY K.D. SELIG , president and CEO

    Our First Four YearsA period of landmark advances in melanoma research and treatment.

    LETTER FROM THE CHAIR AND PRESIDENT

    This is clearly the year of melanomaGeorge W. Sledge, Jr., M.D., American Society of

    Clinical Oncology Past President - June 2011

  • MRA is a public charity formed in 2007 under

    the auspices of the Milken Institute, with generous

    founding support from Debra and Leon Black. The

    mission of MRA is to accelerate the pace of scientific

    discovery and its translation in order to eliminate

    suffering and death due to melanoma. Thanks to the

    ongoing support of its founders, MRA applies 100

    percent of public donations to its research program.

    In its first four years, MRA has committed $30.4 million

    to 73 research programs with the potential to make

    significant, near-term clinical impact in prevention,

    diagnosis, staging, and treatment. MRA is the largest pri-

    vate funder of melanoma research in the United States.

    MRA 2008-2011About MRA 03

    About MRAStrategic

    $30.4MRA has committed $30.4 millionto 73 research programs. It is thelargest private funder of melanomaresearch in the United States.

    MRA research awards provide an important and unique

    source of funding that addresses the gap in translational

    science, which is a critical stage in moving scientific

    discoveries into tools and treatments for patients.

    Hallmarks of the MRA research portfolio include:

    Focus on collaborative team science: Team

    Science Awards, which fund multidisciplinary research

    groups, account for almost three-quarters of research

    funding to date, followed by a variety of individual

    awards: Established Investigator, Young Investigator,

    Pilot/Development Awards, and Partnership Awards.

    MILLION

    THE FIRST FOUR YEARS

    $35

    $30

    $25

    $20

    $15

    $10

    $5

    0

    GROWTH OF MRAS RESEARCH PROGRAM

    Fun

    din

    g (

    Mill

    ion

    s)

    2011

    2010

    2009

    2008

    TOTAL COMMITMENTS BY AWARD TYPE

    Partnership ($0.3M)

    Established($4.2M)

    Pilot/Dev($0.7M)Young

    ($2.8M)

    Team ($22.4M)

    Thanks to the ongoing generous support ofits founders, MRA applies 100 percent ofpublic donations to its research program.

  • 114PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS

    04 www.curemelanoma.orgStrategicMelanomaResearchAlliance.

    Investment in developing new treatments

    for metastatic disease: Nearly 80 percent of

    research funding is directed at melanoma treatment,

    followed by diagnosis/staging and prevention. In

    particular, MRA is investing significant resources to

    improve upon the two new treatment approaches

    immune checkpoint targeting and selective BRAF

    inhibition.

    Advances in key scientific and clinical

    areas: MRA-funded research has made progress in

    all of the key areas of opportunity identified at its

    inaugural Call to Action meeting in 2007. Because of

    NEARLY 80 PERCENT

    About MRAStrategic

    Nearly 80 percent of researchfunding is directed at melanomatreatment, followed by diagnosis/staging and prevention.

    the rapid progress that has been made, MRA has

    updated and revised this agenda for the next four years.

    Support for a diverse group of melanoma

    researchers worldwide: MRA is funding 114

    Principal Investigators at 56 institutions in 10

    countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany,

    Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden,

    Switzerland, and the United States).

    TOTAL COMMITMENTS BY SCIENCE AREA

    Diagnosis/Staging($3.7M)Treatment

    ($24.0M)

    Prevention($2.8)

  • VFCDG8LBI

    s

    UnitedStates

    Canada

    Europe

    Israel

    9

    NewZealand

    MRA 2008-2011Strategic 05

    AustraliaWestmeadHerstonMelbourneSydney

    BelgiumLeuven

    CanadaTorontoMontreal

    GermanyFrankfurtHeidelberg

    IsraelJerusalemRamat Gan

    NetherlandsAmsterdamGroningenLeidenMaastrichtRotterdam

    New ZealandWellington

    SwedenLund

    SwitzerlandZurich

    United StatesPhoenix, AZLa Jolla, CALos Angeles, CAOakland, CAPasadena, CASan Francisco, CASanta Monica, CAStanford, CATampa, FLChampaign, IL

    Chicago, ILBoston, MACambridge, MABaltimore, MDAnn Arbor, MIDetroit, MISt. Louis, MOPrinceton, NJCold Spring Harbor, NYNew York, NYRochester, NY

    Cleveland, OH Philadelphia, PAProvidence, RINashville, TNHouston, TXSalt Lake City, UTCharlottesville, VASeattle, WA

    Australia

    Global PresenceLocation of Principal Investigators leading MRA-funded awards, 2008-2011

  • 06 www.curemelanoma.orgCollaborativeMelanomaResearchAlliance.

    About MRACollaborative

    Collaboration is at MRA's corefrom the

    team approaches to research that it funds

    to the way it finds partners who can help

    realize its vision. Relationships built with

    other nonprofits, corporations, and individuals

    continue to increase:

    MRA and Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) are jointly

    funding a Melanoma Dream Team of at least $6

    million beginning in early 2012. This ground-

    breaking award represents one of the largest single

    private grants for melanoma research and the first

    collaboration of its kind with SU2C.

    In its first ever such offering, MRA selected two

    Academic-Industry Partnership Awards in 2011

    that will support projects in conjunction with matched

    contributions from an industry partner whose

    participation is essential to the project. MRA and the

    partner company will jointly support research with a

    high likelihood of clinical translation to help patients

    and those at risk for melanoma.

    MRA has co-funded research projects with fellow

    cancer research foundations, including the Canadian

    Cancer Society, Cancer Research Institute, and

    Melanoma Research Foundation.

    PREVENTION

    Funded by an MRA Team Science Award, Drs. NicholasHayward and Nicholas Martin (Queensland Institute ofMedical Research) and Dr. Graham Mann (WestmeadInstitute for Cancer Research and University of Sydney) discovered five new melanoma risk genes that conferredan increased risk of melanoma between 14 and 22 percent. In contrast to other known risk genes, none of

    these appear to be associated withphysical characteristics such as fairskin or moles.

    Relative contributionof pigmentation and other genes tomelanoma risk

    Relative Contribution of Pigmentation and Other Genes to Melanoma Risk

  • Through its growing Allies program, MRA has raised

    awareness of melanoma and funds for melanoma

    research with nearly 50 companies who believe in its

    mission. For example, with the help of key Corporate

    Allies, including Claires, SkinCeuticals, and The

    Sports Authority, MRA reached as many as 19 million

    people with information about melanoma while

    raising nearly $350,000 for melanoma research

    during Melanoma Awareness Month in May 2011.

    MRA also leveraged its affiliation with the Milken

    Institute by hosting an outreach event on the closing

    day of the 2011 Global Conference in Beverly Hills.

    The event, supported by Corporate Allies Graff,

    Montage and Style Network , introduced the work

    of MRA to dozens of new supporters. Expanded

    collaborations with additional companies that share

    the MRA mission, as wel