Major Accomplishments

Drs. Osman, Hernando, Polsky, Darvishian, Pavlick, Shapiro and Wang used integrative genomics and identified specific molecular alterations that challenge the linear model of melanoma progression, which supports superficial spreading and nodular melanomas as separate entities (Rose AE et al., Cancer Res, 2011. PMCID: PMC3070783).

Drs. Hernando, Osman, and Darvishian provided proof that miRNA targeting against metastatic tumors is safe and effective by using anti-miR-182 oligonucleotides in a mouse model of melanoma liver metastasis (Huynh C et al., Oncogene, 2011).

Dr. Ito revealed the coordinated activation of the Wnt pathway in epithelial and melanocyte stem cells that initiates pigmented hair regeneration (Rabbani P et al., Cell, 2011. PMCID: PMC Journal – In Press).

Dr. Pavlick coauthored a Phase II study that examined the response rate for the selective, allosteric MEK1/MEK2 inhibitor trametinib (GSK1120212) in patients with metastatic BRAF-mutant melanoma. The study suggests that BRAF-inhibitor resistance mechanisms confer resistance to MEK-inhibitor monotherapy (Kim KB et al. J Clin. Oncol. 2013)

Drs. Hernando, Osman, Darvishian, Shao, and Mahal reported that miR30b/30d regulation of GalNAc transferases promotes metastasis by enhancing both invasion and immune suppression (Gaziel-Sovran A et al., Cancer Cell, 2011. PMCID: PMC Journal – In Press).

Drs. Osman and Polsky have joined efforts with leading institutions in the United States, Australia, and Europe to determine prognostic markers in melanoma.

Dr. Polsky recently received a grant from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to support his research in developing a blood-based assay for detecting BRAF mutations. This will be an important tool for determining eligibility for a BRAF inhibitor and for monitoring disease activity.