Table 1.

Current MRA strategic research plan

  • Further elucidate the genetic basis of risk and apply this information for identification and management of high-risk groups

  • Develop new agents for melanoma prevention, including topical or oral compounds for high-risk groups

Diagnosis and staging
  • Develop a more accurate, molecularly based staging system for melanoma

  • Design new imaging agents for detection and staging of metastatic melanoma, including new PET agents

  • Support a centralized, large-scale effort to extract and map molecular data from melanoma cell lines and tumor samples to clinical outcomes to identify new prognostic and therapeutic targets and to optimize current therapies

  • Identify prognostic biomarkers for patients with stage I–IIIA melanoma to guide clinical management

  • Develop serologic biomarkers to detect early-stage melanoma

  • Develop combinatorial treatment strategies for patients with stage III–IV melanoma, including combinations of immunologic and molecularly targeted agents

  • Identify and characterize new biomarkers of treatment response and nonresponse to therapies

  • Elucidate the prognostic and therapeutic value of tumor microenvironmental factors, including using a “systems biology” approach

  • Promote research on immunotherapies, including vaccines and immune-modulating antibodies, for single-agent use and in combination

  • Create new adjuvant therapies

  • Explore mechanisms of resistance to immunotherapies or molecularly targeted therapies and methods to overcome resistance

  • Identify new molecular targets and therapeutics for melanomas not expressing BRAF mutations or BRAF-mutant melanomas not responsive to BRAF inhibitors

  • Explore epigenetic targets including methylation and microRNAs for the development of new therapies

  • Identify and target factors driving the process of melanoma invasion and metastasis

Abbreviation: PET, positron emission tomography.