Melanoma News Round-Up, April 25

Catch the latest updates from MRA in our April newsletter! And don’t forget to lend your voice to helping us defeat melanoma through our Thunderclap campaign!

L’Oreal Exec’s Personal Battle with Melanoma Led to Sunscreen Ads via AdAge

Big Increase in Most Serious Skin Cancer Says Charity via BBC Wales

How I Finally Wised Up About the Sun via Glamour

The CDC Launches New ‘Burning Truth’ Campaign on the Dangers of Tanning via CDC

Should You Buy Illegal Foreign Sunscreens? via Slate

EU Agency Backs Approval of new GlaxoSmithKline Melanoma Drug via Reuters UK

 

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Melanoma News Round-Up, March 28

Take a look at this week’s melanoma news, which features new hope for patients through incredible research advances and compelling progress toward reducing the risk of melanoma through new sunscreens and stronger regulations on indoor tanning. 

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FDA review of new sunscreen ingredients has languished for years, frustrating advocates via Washington Post

Sunscreen delay: Stronger products need OK from FDA via FIOS1 News

New Hope for Melanoma Patients via ABC News

Drug Firms Focus on Advanced Melanoma via Wall Street Journal

Boy With Melanoma Raises Thousands Making Bracelets To Battle Cancer via CBS News

Clinicians emphasize risk of skin cancer in patients with skin of color via Dermatology Times

The Burning Truth campaign via the CDC

Melanoma survivor talks about bill that would ban teens from using tanning beds via WPXI

Inslee signs bill banning tanning beds for youth via King 5

Innovation Coming to America

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Though many people may not have realized it until reading today’s front page Washington Post article, sunscreen products sold in the US are not reflective of the latest innovations and science in understanding how best to protect people against harmful UV rays from the sun.  But it is true – the last time a new sunscreen product was approved for use in the US was in the 1990’s, not because scientists and companies haven’t been innovating, but because applications for approval of new products have been collecting dust on the shelf at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Hopefully, things are about to change for the better.  Last Thursday, a bipartisan, bicameral group of Members of Congress introduced the Sunscreen Innovation Act to jumpstart the sunscreen ingredient review process at the FDA so the American public can have access to the most innovative, effective sunscreen products.  If the bill moves forward and becomes law, Americans may finally be able to purchase sunscreen products which have been on store shelves for years in Europe, Asia, Central and South America.

For the past two decades, the FDA process for reviewing new sunscreen ingredients has stalled due to needlessly complex regulations.  The resulting backlog has ground the review process to a halt.

Shockingly, the most recent sunscreen ingredient to receive FDA approval dates back to the age of the dial-up modem.

The Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) is committed to reducing the toll of melanoma, the deadliest of all skin cancers.  We routinely urge people to know their risks and take steps to reduce those risks, including avoiding exposure to UV radiation and the damage it causes to the skin.  We have worked to improve the safety and efficacy review of new sunscreen innovations that offer essential protection from hazardous ultraviolet (UV) rays.  As a leading member of the Public Access to Sunscreens (PASS) Coalition, MRA has engaged with Congress and the FDA to address the current standstill in a process that is clearly broken.

The need for the most advanced and effective sunscreen products is clear, especially during a time when the deadliest skin cancer, melanoma, is increasing in prevalence.  Each year more than 9,800 Americans die of melanoma – that’s one person every hour.  Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States with more than 2 million Americans diagnosed every year.  Exposure to UV rays is a leading cause of melanoma and other skin cancers.

Protecting your skin from harmful UV rays offers incredible benefits, preventing sunburns, skin aging, and reducing your risk of skin cancer.  Experts recommend you protect your skin with the regular usage of sunscreen that is:

1) Broad Spectrum

2) Water Resistant

3) SPF 30 or higher

You can dramatically reduce your risk of skin cancer with the proper use of sunscreen, and hopefully you’ll soon be able to purchase the most cutting-edge sunscreen technologies as Congress, the FDA, the PASS Coalition, and MRA work to enact this bill into law.  Be sure to follow MRA for updates as we track this bill’s progress.

The MRA Policy Pulse

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With our office based in Washington, DC, we have numerous opportunities to contribute to efforts aimed at policy-makers urging them to ensure better outcomes for melanoma patients and those at risk.  Whether we are advocating for increased NIH funding, participating in meetings on Capitol Hill, or highlighting the need for prevention strategies and innovative new treatments, we are always working toward the day when no one suffers or dies from melanoma.

Here are some highlights from our latest policy initiatives:

  • MRA is collaborating with the Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and other key stakeholders to engage the Surgeon General’s Office in a Melanoma Public Health strategy via a Call to Action. We are lending our expertise to establish a strong rationale for the many steps that need to be undertaken to defeat melanoma.
  • MRA recently became a member of the Public Access to SunScreens (PASS) Coalition, whose mission is to work collaboratively with the FDA, Congress, the White House, health providers, consumer organizations and stakeholders to establish a regulatory pathway for timely pre-market review of new, safe and effective sunscreen ingredients.  PASS has proposed legislation, which includes expedited review of the backlog of PASS Logosunscreen applications and establishes a new process that allows future sunscreen applications to receive a decision within one year of submission.  MRA participates in Hill meetings with the PASS Coalition, urging members of Congress to support this legislation.
  • In May, the FDA released draft regulations that will require tanning beds and sunlamps to display stronger warning labels, including a recommendation that people under the age of 18 abstain from using these devices.  The proposed reclassification moves tanning beds from Class 1 (low risk) to Class 2 (moderate risk) devices.  While this is a great first step, MRA plans to continue working with the FDA and other stakeholders to restrict the use of these dangerous devices.  MRA will submit comments to the FDA in the coming weeks applauding them for their efforts and encouraging the department to institute additional regulations that will completely restrict minors from the use and purchase of indoor tanning devices.Tanning Lamps
  • MRA is working with the Melanoma Research Foundation to request $10 million for a melanoma research program administered by the Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program in 2014. With hundreds of thousands of U.S. Army, National Guard, Coast Guard, Air Force and Marine personnel having served in the Middle East over the past decade, where the intensity of sun exposure is great, there is a potential for heightened long-term risk of melanoma incidence and mortality in our military and veteran population.  MRA met with Senators on Capitol Hill to seek support for this funding in the Senate Defense Appropriations bill.

Here at MRA, we continue to advocate for policy changes to accelerate progress in the melanoma field.  We frequently work with senior policymakers at the Department of Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration, and Congress to offer constructive solutions and focus resources and attention on defeating melanoma.

We will keep you updated on any future developments surrounding these issues!