MRF Research Portfolio 2019

Funding Melanoma Research

Scientific Initiatives


The MRF provides emerging and established scientific investigators (from medical students to senior investigative teams) with highly sought-after, peer-reviewed grants across the disciplines of biology, immunology, prevention, diagnosis and treatment. From 1998 to 2019, the MRF grant program has awarded 178 grants to investigators at all stages in their career paths, totaling over $17 million.


Recognizing a need for greater collaboration around translational research, the MRF formed the MRFBC in 2010. The MRFBC is a national network of 20 centers of excellence in melanoma that collaborate to accelerate drug development.


University of Colorado Northwestern

University University

of Chicago Ohio State University

University of Pittsburgh


California Pacific Medical Center

Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Yale University Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Columbia University New York University University of Pennsylvania/ Wistar Institute Georgetown-Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center




Introduces students early in their careers to clinical/research opportunities under

Medical students at an accredited U.S. medical school or institution

1 year

University of California San Francisco


the mentorship of an investigator engaged in melanoma research

City of Hope

Enables young researchers to generate the groundwork that can leverage additional grant funding from other funding bodies

Junior investigators which include: • Postdoctoral fellows with less than five years of postdoctoral experience OR • A research associate, instructor, assistant professor or the equivalent

2 years

The Angeles Clinic and Research Center


University of California Los Angeles

Vanderbilt University

M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Moffitt Cancer Center

Virtual Repository A Virtual Specimen Repository has been established with harmonized SOPs to ensure consistency across institutions and trials and over time. Rare Subtype Focus Community United for Research and Education of Ocular Melanoma (CURE OM) In 2011, the MRF launched CURE OM to focus solely on advancing the goals of the ocular melanoma community. To date, CURE OM has provided $1.5 million in grants, held numerous scientific meetings, and is launching a patient registry while continuing to advocate for the ocular melanoma community and to try and improve the lives of the people impacted by this disease. Pediatric and Mucosal/Acral Lentiginous Melanoma Initiatives The MRF has also launched initiatives that focus on pediatric and mucosal/acral lentiginous (MM/ALM) melanoma. As such, the MRF is supporting grants

Encourages proven researchers to continue research on emerging challenges in melanoma

Established researchers, mainly faculty with at least an associate professor appointment

2 years


focused on pediatric melanoma as well as mucosal melanoma. With respect to pediatric melanoma, the MRF sponsors an Annual Pediatric Summit each year so that families can come together and learn the latest in medical treatments and research, and find support. With respect to MM/ALM, the MRF is providing funding support for a biomarker trial for MM/ALM patients. Support to the Field • Partnership with SMR to sponsor annual investigator awards and satellite symposia • Scientific meetings such as the Brain Metastases Summits 1.0 and 2.0 and the State of Melanoma Further, due largely to patient suggestions, the MRF has developed a wide array of educational information, downloads for use in the office, links to clinical trials, buddy programs and online support groups. More information about the MRF, its programs, and its scientific leadership can be found at Patient Perspective Incorporating a patient-centric approach to the grant review process, a patient review panel ensures that patient and caregiver priorities are reflected in the research funding process.

Encourages collaboration across academic disciplines in an institution or among multiple institutions

A PI and at least one co-PI, ideally from different institutions

2 years


Fosters clinical trials in the melanoma space


Junior through established investigators

2–3 years

GRANT RECIPIENT NIH-type funding mechanisms are not appropriate for the research proposed herein since it is the kind of research that is considered ‘risky’ by study sections. Only visionary funds like the MRF can overcome the vicious cycle of ‘no preliminary data that demonstrate the concept/no funding’ which we are all used to getting from the NIH review process.


This grant was the first one I was awarded after finishing my medical training, and tremendously helped establish my academic career.

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