New $1M Grants for Research on Melanoma Metastasis
Posted: Friday, October 25, 2019
In a second round of funding under a partnership between the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA), two new projects have been selected. Each organization will contribute $1 million to support the two teams over 3 years. The new multiyear grants go into effect January 1, 2020.
The first grants funded through the partnership, in 2018, focused on advancing research to reduce side effects resulting from cancer treatments with immune checkpoint inhibitors. This year’s grants will support two interdisciplinary teams to better understand and manage metastasis of melanoma and other types of cancer. The new grants, each funded at $1 million total, will go to teams led by Michael A. Davies, MD, PhD, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Eva Hernando, PhD, of the New York University School of Medicine.
Dr. Davies will lead a team that brings together investigators from various specialties and from two of the largest melanoma centers in the world (MD Anderson and the Melanoma Institute Australia). The team will explore whether molecular and immune features of individual melanomas can predict which patients will develop central nervous system metastases. They will also test an experimental new treatment for brain metastases, IACS-010759, which is currently in clinical trials.
Dr. Hernando and her team will investigate the role of amyloid beta in brain metastasis. Dr. Hernando’s lab has analyzed the protein content of melanoma that had spread to the brain; her findings surprisingly reported elevated rates of amyloid-processing protein (AAP), the same protein that plays a central role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The team will investigate how APP, which generates amyloid beta, influences melanoma growth within the brain microenvironment; determine the therapeutic potential of targeting APP using antibodies and compounds that have already being tested clinically in patients with Alzheimer’s disease; and assess whether APP is required for brain metastasis of other tumors, such as lung and breast cancers.