Nearly 80 percent of all skin cancer deaths are caused by melanoma. This year over 62,000 people will develop some form of melanoma, by far the most dangerous and aggressive kind of skin cancer. It is projected that in a few years, one person in 40 living in the U.S. will develop this terrible disease.
Genetic research is critical for preventing and detecting melanoma, as well as developing more effective therapies. Unfortunately, despite over 30 years of research on the war on cancer and despite recent success in the decrease in mortality for breast and other cancers, essentially no progress has been made for those patients with advanced (metastatic) melanoma. Researchers at TGen hope to change that by attacking melanoma from several angles using the information from the Human Genome Project.
One group of TGen researchers is focused on identifying the genetic changes associated with an individual's risk of developing melanoma, which could lead to a way to develop new tests for people with an elevated risk of getting this cancer.
A second group is focused on identifying genetic changes in early-stage melanoma as a way to identify new targets for chemo-prevention - in other words, identifying drugs that may actually prevent the disease from starting.
Finally, a third group of TGen scientists are focusing on the worst stage of melanoma (metastatic spread beyond the skin) to identify new approaches to find an "Achilles' heel" for treatment.
Additionally, TGen is collaborating with the H. Lee Moffitt Comprehensive Cancer Center to launch the world's largest molecular melanoma study with the objective of providing scientists throughout the world with the genomic data they need to further the development of new tests and new treatments.
The Kristin Hornaday Fund for Melanoma Research
The Curt & Shonda Schilling Melanoma Research Fund
The Leslie Ann Ballard Melanoma Research Fund
Learn more about Leslie's story...
TGen's Melanoma Research Lab
The Melanoma Therapeutics Lab at TGen
Your donation in support of Melanoma research at TGen is important to furthering the institute's mission to develop earlier diagnoses and smarter treatments for patients.
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To discuss ways to become involved and support cancer research at TGen, contact the TGen Foundation at Foundation@tgen.org, or call 602.343.8411.