Immune to Cancer: The CRI Blog



Melanoma Monday: 2020 Immunotherapy Research Update

A new study, published in the American Journal of Public Health this March, found that from 2013 to 2016, the number of deaths from metastatic melanoma plunged at a rate never before seen. New treatments, including immunotherapy, are largely responsible for this precipitous decline.

Today for Melanoma Monday, we look at bringing immunotherapy earlier into treatment, extraordinary patient journeys, and how we’re working toward a future immune to melanoma

Breakthrough Melanoma Treatments

At the CRI Immunotherapy Patient Summit in Baltimore last year, Dr. Suzanne Topalian, the director of the melanoma research program in the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, emphasized the 10-fold increase in survival of patients with advanced melanoma in the last 10 years and discussed more recent work to improve outcomes for even more patients.

Melanoma Patient Perspective

Tara was first diagnosed with melanoma in 2015. After three years of multiple surgeries, the immunotherapy pembrolizumab (Keytruda) received FDA approval for advanced melanoma. Her tumors responded to treatment and began to shrink after four months. Today, she is tumor-free.


Tara also shared her experience at the CRI Immunotherapy Patient Summit in New York City last year.

Webinar: Speaking With Your Oncologist

What are the benefits and risks of immunotherapy? What are the side effects? What is it like to participate in a clinical trial? Brendan Connors, a melanoma veteran treated with ipilimumab (Yervoy) and nivolumab (Opdivo), and his oncologist, Dr. Michael Postow of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, discuss doctor-patient communication during immunotherapy treatment.

Melanoma Patient Story

Dan EngelTen operations, gamma knife surgery on a brain metastasis, radiation treatment, and six clinical trials: Dan Engel has been through a lot since he was first diagnosed with melanoma in 1999. A clinical trial of ipilimumab (Yervoy), a CTLA checkpoint inhibitor, saved his life.

Read Dan's Melanoma Story

Melanoma Scientist Spotlight

Dr. Ashish KulkarniImmunotherapy has revolutionized melanoma treatment, but accurate monitoring of clinical effectiveness can be challenging. CRI Tech Impact Award recipient Ashish Kulkarni, PhD, is combining a first-of-its-kind nanomaterial with cancer immunotherapy and engineering a proof-of-concept ‘self-reporting nanotheranostics.’ In preliminary studies, he’s shown that this technology can home to tumors and induce a potent immune response against cancer cells.

Learn More about Dr. Kulkarni's Melanoma Research

Immunotherapy for Melanoma Information Updated

Immunotherapy has changed the way melanoma is treated. In particular, checkpoint inhibitors are responsible for the increasing survival rate for patients with metastatic melanoma.

VIEW immunotherapy for melanoma UPDATE

Find a Melanoma Clinical Trial

A variety of new and promising cancer immunotherapy treatments are only available to patients in clinical trials. Our Immunotherapy Clinical Trial Finder will match you to trials for which you may be eligible, and you can help speed the development of potentially lifesaving drugs for yourself and others.

FIND A Cancer Clinical TRIAL

Support Melanoma Research

The CRI Anna-Maria Kellen Clinical Accelerator is currently funding a clinical trial (NCT02643303) that seeks to bolster the anti-PD-L1 and anti-CTLA-4 combination immunotherapy through the use of an adjuvant designed to activate innate immune responses in melanoma and other advanced cancers. The trial opened in 2016 and is still enrolling new patients. This Melanoma Monday, support lifesaving cancer immunotherapy research.

Donate to melanoma research

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