Melanoma Research Program

Cancer Scientific Research Programs Melanoma Research Program
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Melanoma Research Program

The Melanoma Research Program at Perlmutter Cancer Center is comprised of a multidisciplinary team of investigators, including dermatologists, surgeons, medical oncologists, pathologists, pharmacologists, environmental medicine experts, cell biology investigators, chemists, biostatisticians, immunologists, geneticists, and basic scientists. We apply a multidisciplinary, translational approach to address patient management needs for all stages of melanoma, from high-risk to metastatic disease.

Our investigators work together to develop risk assessment models that integrate molecular biomarkers with clinical variables for patients with melanoma. We investigate the biologic heterogeneity of melanoma as it relates to progression and treatment resistance. We also develop new treatment modalities that can overcome therapeutic resistance.

Melanoma Research Areas

The Melanoma Research Program aims to improve patient outcomes through research that addresses unmet needs in melanoma management. We rely on one of the nation’s oldest and largest biobanks of melanoma specimens, linked to prospective and protocol-driven clinical information for more than 3,500 patients.

Over the last three decades, melanoma deaths in the Unites States have continued to rise, even as mortality rates for most major adult cancers have declined. Despite recent progress in the treatment of metastatic melanoma, overall survival remains less than 50 percent at three years, and new immune therapies often have serious immune-related toxicities.

Our research areas include the following:

  • better stratification of recurrence risk after primary treatment
  • improved decision-making for adjuvant treatment of those at high risk of recurrence
  • identification of the molecular drivers of melanoma progression with a particular focus on brain tropism
  • developing new therapies for patients with advanced melanoma

We have expanded our scope to include a better understanding of the clinical and biologic differences in melanoma affecting minorities, particularly groups within the communities we serve.