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

  *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.


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