MOON SHOTS PROGRAM
How we're ending Melanoma
Our intentions are noble – put patients at the forefront of our melanoma investigations to make their cure today’s reality. Our process is groundbreaking – use in-house, industry-quality research platforms to ensure that our breakthrough discoveries aren’t left sitting in academic research labs.
By combining Innovation, Collaboration and Scale, the Melanoma Moon Shot™ is revolutionizing the conventional medical research approach to rapidly adapt pre-clinical findings into patient treatment options.
Deadliest form of skin cancer
Melanoma affects all ages and is one of the most common cancers in older adolescents and young adults. It's largely caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR), either from direct sunlight or from tanning bed use. According to a study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, sustaining five or more blistering sunburns while young increases one's melanoma risk by 80 percent.
Help end melanoma
"One of our key goals is to spread awareness about this disease and the factors that contribute to it, so that ultimately we can reduce the incidence of melanoma."
Listen as Moon Shot™ co-leader Michael Davies, M.D., Ph.D., shares how your support can help accelerate new treatments and clinical trials for patients with this disease.
Our Flagship Projects
The Melanoma Moon Shot is driving change from all sides and at all points of the cancer care continuum through:
- Primary prevention and early diagnosis
- Personalized disease management
Read more about these projects below.
Personalizing Disease Management
MELANOMA BY THE NUMBERS
While melanoma accounts for about only 1% of skin cancers, over 75,000 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed every year.
Training dermatologists to detect melanoma at its earliest stages
Early detection has enormous survival implications for melanoma. Dermoscopy is a relatively low-tech device that can significantly improve providers’ diagnostic accuracy for melanoma. Formal dermoscopic education is best received during dermatology residency training, but most programs aren’t large enough to support a faculty member whose main focus is on dermoscopy and early detection of melanoma. Working with the cancer prevention and control platform, we’re able to use Project ECHO®, a telementoring platform, to train residents in the use of dermoscopy and teach and support providers as they gain a new skill set.
MELANOMA RESEARCH UPDATE
Pre-surgical therapy improves stage III melanoma outcomes
A recent clinical trial demonstrated that a pair of targeted therapies given before and after surgery for stage III melanoma improved treatment outcomes beyond standard-of-care surgery. Several patients that received pre-surgical treatment achieved a pathological complete response (pCR), which means that no cancer was detected at the time of surgery. For those who didn't achieve pCR, this study used biopsies and blood samples to address why the treatment didn't work.
A gut reaction
Melanoma Moon Shot co-leader Jen Wargo, M.D., is studying how diversity of bacteria in the digestive tract impacts cancer immunotherapy.