Looking Back on 2013

2013-written-in-the-sandFrom everyone here at the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA), we wish you a healthy and happy holiday season and extend our heartfelt gratitude for an amazing year of progress and collaboration. We are so thankful for the tremendous support we received this year from so many people who share our passion for defeating melanoma. Every year at this time we reflect on the preceding 12 months with admiration for the extraordinary efforts of the researchers, scientists, clinicians, and patients working together to accelerate better treatments and, ultimately, cures for this devastating disease.

And 2013 did not disappoint in terms of bringing significant progress! Over the course of the year, the FDA approved two new therapies for metastatic melanoma, a landmark study was published showing remarkable long-term survival trends for an existing melanoma treatment, and many companies released promising new data on their clinical-stage compounds, demonstrating great promise in the next generation of melanoma therapies.

Excitement within the melanoma research and patient communities continues to grow as more late-stage patients finally see effective treatment options. Even while celebrating this progress for patients and their families, as well as everyone at risk for melanoma, MRA remains hard at work helping to translate and build upon these exciting scientific discoveries. We are committed to working with all stakeholders to defeat melanoma, from our donors, to our allies, to industry partners and government leaders.

Here are just a few of MRA’s 2013 highlights as we wage this fight:

  • We awarded a record total of $10.6 million in high-impact research grants, bringing our cumulative grant-making total to more than $49 million for 118 research projects worldwide.
  • Our best-ever Annual Scientific Retreat brought together leaders from across industry, government, and advocacy for an intense, interactive meeting aimed at galvanizing the field of melanoma research.
  • We launched a pioneering collaboration with L’Oréal Paris that includes their generous support for an MRA Team Science Award and a multi-media campaign to increase awareness and education about melanoma.
  • MRA held several record-breaking fundraising events, including the Second Annual Leveraged Finance Fights Melanoma event, as well as our Third Benefit Dinner at Sotheby’s New York, which together raised well over $7 million, all of which is being used to support our game-changing research program.
  • With leadership from MRA, the Office of the Surgeon General and the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a joint Call to Action on the prevention of skin cancer through the reduction of ultraviolet (UV) exposure. This collaboration recognizes skin cancer and melanoma as public health concerns and is the first step toward establishing a nationwide public health agenda aimed at defeating melanoma.

With all of this progress on multiple fronts, we believe the next year holds great promise in the battle against this disease. Your continued support is critical to our ability to capitalize on the growing momentum in the field. Thank you for helping to generate unprecedented support in 2013, and for your continued friendship and support of MRA and our transformative research program as we all work toward a future when no one suffers or dies from melanoma.

Happy Holidays!

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