Melanoma Research Alliance Awards Record 2014 Research Grants

  Melanoma Research Alliance Awards Record 2014 Research Grants   Scientific Investigators at 19 Institutions Worldwide Receive Awards to Spur        New Treatments for Melanoma, the Most Deadly Form of Skin Cancer  Business Wire  WASHINGTON -- May 19, 2014  The Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA), the largest private funder of melanoma research, today announced its latest slate of research awards, totaling $8 million in new grants. This round of awards makes 2014 a record-breaking year for MRA, bringing the organization’s total funding since January to more than $11 million and the organization’s cumulative total since inception to over $60 million.  The awards go to 34 scientists at 19 leading academic institutions to accelerate research into novel treatments and better outcomes for melanoma patients. These research programs aim to identify new therapeutic approaches and improve existing treatments by developing biomarkers to predict response to therapy and testing combinations of drugs. Among the proposals are projects to develop new therapies for ocular (uveal) melanoma in addition to melanoma of the skin.  With this latest round of awards, MRA’s portfolio comprises 144 projects involving 204 principal investigators at 92 institutions in 14 countries. Due to the generous ongoing support by MRA’s founders of all operational costs, 100% of funds raised are invested in MRA’s research programs seeking to better prevent, detect, and treat melanoma.  The 2014 grants set new records for funding leveraged from other sources. In addition to the $8 million in MRA commitments this year, an additional $7.5 million in grant support came from industry, research institutions, corporate organizations, and individuals, bringing the cumulative amount of leveraged funding applied to melanoma projects as a result of MRA grants to nearly $60 million. In all, MRA’s program has focused $120 million on cutting edge melanoma research since its founding in late 2007.  “The applicant pool for our 2014 grants was extremely strong, ensuring that this year’s grants represent cutting-edge science for developing the most impactful new treatment approaches in the field of melanoma research,” said Wendy K.D. Selig, President and CEO of MRA. “While melanoma treatment options have expanded in recent years, existing treatments still benefit too few melanoma patients. This year’s MRA awards will build on the momentum in the field and hopefully accelerate improved outcomes for all patients.”  MRA’s 2014 grants are made possible through the important contributions of individuals, families, institutions, and corporate allies. The slate of grants includes:    *22 Project Awards         *7 Team Science Awards (including 5 designated Young Investigators)        *12 Young Investigator Awards        *3 Academic-Industry Partnership Awards  Among the new grants are three Academic-Industry Partnership Awards involving participation by MedImmune, Merck, and Plexxikon. These awards represent a novel mechanism for collaboration among academic researchers, industry, and MRA through a corporate match of MRA’s funding. The program has taken off in recent years, and with these new awards, MRA has now funded a total of 11 Academic-Industry Partnership Awards.  “This latest group of research grants represents a great accomplishment for MRA and the whole melanoma community,” said Debra Black, MRA Co-Founder and Chair. “These grants are infused with MRA’s spirit of collaboration, reflecting geographic diversity and drawing from many scientific disciplines. We are delighted to have support from a broad cross section of corporations, foundations, institutions, and individuals. Together, we are making huge strides against this disease.”  This historic year of grant awards is made possible by generous contributions from many allies in the fight against melanoma. BillionairephilanthropistStewartRahris supporting four Young Investigator Awards this cycle, making him the single largest donor to the Young Investigator Program. Industry partners have also pledged their support for MRA’s Young Investigator program, which seeks to fund the best and brightest early-career scientists. Bristol-Myers Squibb is supporting the program with a charitable donation to fund two Young Investigator Awards in immuno-oncology, and GSK expanded their engagement with the program, funding their second Young Investigator Award since 2013. MRA is also grateful to Judy & Russ Carson, Ellen & Gary Davis, Amanda & Johnathan Eilian, Susan & John Hess, Denise & Michael Kellen, Ben LeBow, Mary Jo & Brian Rogers, Elizabeth & Oliver Stanton, the Botica Family, and several anonymous donors for their contributions in support of specific awards.  MRA is also pleased to recognize co-funding support for: the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center-Memorial Sloan Kettering-MRA Team Science Award; the Weill Cornell-Massachusetts General Hospital -MRA Team Science Award; the Lung Cancer Research Foundation-LUNGevity Foundation-MRA Young Investigator Award; The Ohio State University-MRA Young Investigator Award; the Theodore Popp, Jr.-MRA Uveal Melanoma Young Investigator Award; two University of California at San Francisco-MRA Young Investigator Awards; the University of Cincinnati-MRA Young Investigator Award; and The V Foundation-MRA Young Investigator Award.  Researchers receiving the awards are associated with the following institutions: Baylor College of Medicine; Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center; Massachusetts General Hospital; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center; The University of California, Irvine; The University of California, Los Angeles; The University of California, San Francisco; The University of Cincinnati; The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; The Wistar Institute; Weill Cornell Medical College; Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research; and Yale University.  Earlier this year, MRA awarded $2.25 million in research grants to teams of scientists in Israel and the U.S. through collaboration with The Saban Family Foundation. MRA also recently announced a $1 million contribution to the to the Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C)-Cancer Research Institute (CRI) Immunology Translational Research Dream Team in support of an extension of the project focusing on melanoma.  For a full description of the grants and awardees, please visit  About the Melanoma Research Alliance  MRA is a public charity formed in 2007 under the auspices of the Milken Institute, with the generous founding support of Debra and Leon Black. MRA has dedicated more than $60 million to research seeking to better prevent, diagnose, and treat melanoma, the most deadly type of skin cancer. Due to the ongoing support of its founders, 100% of every dollar MRA raises goes to support its melanoma research program. The organization is poised to build on recent momentum in the field, accelerating the pace of scientific discovery and translation in order to eliminate suffering and death due to melanoma. MRA’s ability to fund wide-ranging research in melanoma is amplified by unique multi-faceted collaborations and partnerships with individuals, private foundations, and corporations.  Contact:  Anreder & Company 212.532.3232 Steven S. Anreder – Michael Wichman – or Marissa Maybee (MRA) – 202.336.8922  
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