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The one hundred honoree: The Melanoma Research Alliance

Donor Story

The one hundred honoree: The Melanoma Research Alliance

Mass General Giving

The Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) was founded in 2007 by Debra and Leon Black when Debra was diagnosed with stage II melanoma. While melanoma is easily curable in its early stages, it can quickly spread and become deadly if left untreated. Each year more than 76,000 Americans are diagnosed with melanoma — one every eight minutes — and nearly 10,000 die of the disease. Prevention and early diagnosis are key to ensuring the best outcomes for this deadliest form of skin cancer.

MRA is the largest private funder of melanoma research and has awarded more than $60 million to 144 projects focused on melanoma prevention, diagnosis and treatment. As a result of MRA’s funding, supported investigators have been able to leverage more than $60 million in additional funding to advance vital programs. MRA supports innovative efforts to raise awareness of this deadly disease and develop the most advanced and effective treatments.

In addition to funding medical innovation, MRA advocates for prevention through public education on the dangers of unprotected exposure to ultraviolet rays and shares ways to reduce risk and access early detection resources. Melanoma is the sixth most common cancer in the United States and its incidence has continued to rise over the past three decades. However, there is cause for hope — since MRA’s founding, six new treatments for metastatic melanoma have been developed and approved by the FDA. Through funding powerful research, MRA works to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery and its translation in order to eliminate suffering and death due to melanoma.