The MRP is seeking to support research that aims to inhibit melanoma earlier in the disease progression to prevent metastasis, reduce suffering, and increase survival. To be considered for funding, applications for the FY23 MRP Melanoma Academy Scholar Award (MASA) must address at least one of the following FY23 MRP Focus Areas.
Prevention: The MRP challenges the research community to expand the concept of melanoma prevention to include improving detection and monitoring capabilities, as well as inhibiting the initiation of melanoma, the early dissemination, the emergence from tumor dormancy, and the development of metastases. The FY23 MRP Focus Areas that encourage research into the role of prevention throughout the disease process are: • Identify and understand risk factors and biomarker determinants for melanoma, including rare subtypes. • Develop prediction and surveillance tools for distinguishing patient populations and/or early tumors at risk for second primary, recurrence, metastasis, and/or treatment toxicity. • Develop new tools for the detection of melanoma, which includes easily accessible technology (beyond the dermoscope) for primary care physicians, dermatologists, oncologists, and/or pathologists. • Understand how precursor lesions evolve, and/or how environmental/endogenous factors influence melanomagenesis and/or early dissemination. • Identify how the tumor microenvironment and/or microbiome impacts tumor initiation, response to therapy, progression, recurrence, and/or dormancy. • Delineate the cellular and/or molecular mechanisms that influence metastatic spread (e.g., site-specific adaptations), recurrence, and/or dormancy. • Develop new preclinical models of melanomagenesis, early dissemination, and progression that more faithfully represent the disease progression observed in humans.
Rare melanomas: Rare melanoma subtypes (e.g., uveal, acral, mucosal, pediatric melanomas) can have distinct characteristics compared to cutaneous melanoma, which makes up the majority of melanoma diagnoses. This has led to a variety of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment challenges. Furthermore, rare melanomas are less well-studied than cutaneous melanoma, resulting in a dearth of knowledge across the entire cancer research spectrum. The following FY23 MRP Focus Area encourages research relevant to rare melanoma research and patient care: • Address unmet needs across the entire cancer research spectrum (biology, etiology, prevention, early diagnosis and detection, prognosis, treatment, and survivorship) for rare melanomas.
Survivorship: Increasing availability of effective treatment options for advanced melanoma over the last decade means that patients are living longer. This has created a need to address the long-term effects of treatment toxicities, fertility issues, and the overall quality of life of patients living with melanoma. The following FY23 MRP Focus Area encourages research relevant to these important survivorship issues: • Address the physical and psychological impacts of a melanoma diagnosis, symptom trajectories, adverse effects of treatment, and other outcomes that affect individuals with melanoma and their family members.
To be named as the PI on the application, the Scholar: ○ Must be no more than 7 years from obtaining their first faculty-level appointment as of the full application submission deadline. – A Statement of Eligibility (Attachment 9) is required with the submission of the full application. ○ May be in a non-tenure track or tenure track position. ○ Must not have a concurrent career-development-like award at the time of this award. ○ Must have an institutional commitment of 50% protected time for melanoma research and participation in MA activities as directed by MA Leadership.
Individuals in a postdoctoral research position (Ph.D.) or clinical fellowship (M.D.), or equivalent at the time of full application are not eligible to be named as the PI.
• Career Guide
To be named as the Career Guide on the application, the Career Guide: ○ Must be an independent, established melanoma researcher at the level of Associate Professor (or equivalent). ○ Must have melanoma research funding (past and present). ○ Must have a record of melanoma publications in peer-reviewed journals. ○ Must demonstrate a commitment to develop and sustain the Scholar’s independent career in the field of melanoma. ○ Must be committed to fully participating in the MA and potentially serving on the MA Advisory Board as requested by MA Leadership throughout the MASA period of performance.
Note: The PI and Career Guide DO NOT need to be located at the same organization
The anticipated direct costs budgeted for the entire period of performance for an FY23 MRP MASA should not exceed $550,000. Refer to Section II.D.5, Funding Restrictions, for detailed funding information.