Non-Profit Gives $800,000 for Melanoma Research in 2009

-Melanoma Research Foundation awards grants to five melanoma researchers-

HILLSBOROUGH, N.J., Feb. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF), the largest independent, national organization devoted to melanoma in the U.S., announced the recipients of five new research grants as part of its Career Development Grant Program and Established Investigator Grant Program. The MRF's Research Grant Programs support promising medical research that furthers the development of effective treatments and a possible cure for malignant melanoma, while encouraging scientists and clinicians to join in this mission.

"People with melanoma desperately need new and improved treatment options. Recognizing that scientific advancements begin in the lab, it is imperative that we support researchers to ensure their work continues," said Tim Turnham, executive director, the Melanoma Research Foundation. "Each year, the Melanoma Research Foundation is able to provide emerging and established scientific investigators with highly sought-after grants that will allow them to explore new avenues in melanoma biology and treatments ultimately leading to a cure."

Approximately seven years ago, the cancer research community began unlocking the underlying genetic malfunctions that occur in cells causing melanoma. Today, researchers are beginning to correlate those discoveries to therapies that may have a meaningful impact on the survival of patients. Although the melanoma research community is poised to make unprecedented strides in the understanding, prevention and treatment of melanoma, these research efforts have been hindered by the fact that melanoma research is woefully underfunded.

The MRF's Career Development Grant provides funding of up to $50,000 per year for two years to investigators who are beginning a research career emphasizing melanoma-related projects. The MRF's Established Investigator Grant provides funding of up to $100,000 per year for two years to established researchers in melanoma or those in closely related fields who wish to move into melanoma research. Grant recipients are selected through a scientific peer-reviewed system comprised of leading clinical and pre-clinical melanoma researchers.

"The quality of the research proposals we received this year was unparalleled and created a pool of highly competitive applications," said Meenhard Herlyn, D.V.M., D.Sc., co-chair of the MRF's Scientific Advisory Committee and leader of the Oncogenesis Program at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia. "The MRF awards the grants to applicants with the best combination of scientific merit, appropriately skilled researchers, the greatest likelihood for success and the highest benefit for the melanoma patient community."

"Generous donations made to the MRF are the key to funding these potentially life-saving research programs, and the high quality of grant applications this year is testament to the desperate need for greater research funding," said C. Randy Lomax, chairman of the MRF's board of directors. "It is our hope that by funding these research proposals we move one step closer to new, better treatment options and ultimately a cure for melanoma."

The most deadly type of skin cancer, melanoma can strike people of all ages, all races and both sexes. In 2008, more than 62,000 Americans were expected to be diagnosed with the disease, resulting in an estimated 8,400 deaths.

In its early stages, melanoma can be successfully removed and monitored by regular skin screenings. However, the disease is deadly in its most advanced stages, as few treatment options exist. The median life expectancy for patients with advanced melanoma is less than one year and existing therapies have not improved survival in more than a decade.

To learn more about donating to MRF and its research programs, please visit www.melanoma.org.

NOTE TO EDITOR: GRANT RECIPIENTS' DETAILS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

About Melanoma

Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, is one of the fastest growing cancers in the U.S., and can strike people of all ages, all races and both sexes. In fact, with a one in 50 lifetime risk of developing melanoma, more than 62,000 Americans were expected to be diagnosed with the disease in 2008, resulting in an estimated 8,400 deaths. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25 to 29 years old and the second most common cancer in adolescents and young adults 15 to 29 years old.

About Melanoma Research Foundation

The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) is the largest independent, national organization devoted to melanoma in the United States. The Foundation is committed to the support of medical research for finding effective treatments and eventually a cure for melanoma. The MRF also educates patients and physicians about prevention, diagnosis and treatment of melanoma, while acting as an advocate for the melanoma community to raise awareness of this disease and the need for a cure. The MRF Web site is the premier source for melanoma information seekers. More information is available at www.melanoma.org.

Contact: Deborah J. Danuser, (202) 742-5256, Deborah@JonesPA.com, for the Melanoma Research Foundation

SOURCE Melanoma Research Foundation



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