Letter from the Chairman

Dear Friends,

These are exciting times in the melanoma community! In the past three years, four new drugs and the first-ever FDA approved combination therapy have become available to melanoma patients. Before 2011, the last drug approved was in 1998. 

At the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) we have had a very productive year in support of our mission to advance melanoma research, education and advocacy. We increased our research funding by 40%! In addition to our core basic science areas, we are expanding our efforts into translational and clinical research. We convened our Scientific Advisory Committee and Melanoma Research Foundation Breakthrough Consortium (MRFBC) and asked them to develop a list of unmet needs in melanoma research. We have now issued a special call for proposals designed to address those needs.
 
The MRFBC is running three trials of unique approaches to curing melanoma. The Consortium has become a clearinghouse for data and a place for senior researchers to share ideas and compare results. Without this visionary program, these trials and collaboration would not be possible.  
 
Our organization, together with other members of the melanoma community, was able to help achieve an increase of $10 million research funding from the Department of Defense’s Peer-Review Cancer Program. Twelve different cancer groups will now share in $25 million for cancer research. Additionally, we’ll be on Capitol Hill in March for our third annual Legislative Hill Day.
 
The MRF continues to expand its educational programs and recently launched a new partnership with Clinical Care Options. The partnership enables us to co-host symposia for melanoma patients and caregivers, while also offering continued medical education for melanoma clinicians and providers. To learn more about our education programs, click here.
 
Fundraising is the key to our efforts and impact. I would like to thank all of the volunteers around the country for their dedication and hard work. Your efforts in creating walks, runs, dinners, galas and many other activities are greatly appreciated. We treat each dollar raised as a “precious resource” carefully allocated to the most critical needs. Your programs also serve the very important missions of education and advocacy. Every time someone attends one of our events and learns about melanoma, we have made an impact, and perhaps saved a life.
 
Our new website, launched in September 2013, has received rave reviews from both the professional media world and people new to our organization. To date the site has been recognized and received awards by four separate media organizations for the overall design, functionality and ease of use. A special thanks to our committee of staff members, led by Lauren Smith Dyer, and Board members, lead by Jeff Harris, who came together and developed such a fine site.
 
The MPIP community continues to serve a vital role of offering support and information exchange with others impacted by the disease.
 
We look forward to a very busy year in 2014. New volunteer, education and advocacy programs are under way, which you will hear about throughout the year. With the talents and efforts of our Executive Director, Tim Turnham, and his team, as well as with the guidance of our dedicated Board of Directors, I know we will have an impactful year.
 
Your participation, support and efforts are needed and warmly welcomed. Thank you for your continued enthusiastic support and we look forward to working together in 2014.
 

Sincerely,

Steve Silverstein
Chairman, Board of Directors
Melanoma Research Foundation