Challenge Accepted

Accelerating Research & Saving Lives

2020-2021 Annual Report

Challenge Accepted

Accelerating Research & Saving Lives

2020-2021 Annual Report

Our Mission

To end suffering and death due to melanoma by collaborating with all stakeholders to accelerate powerful research, advance cures for all patients, and prevent more melanomas.

Founded in 2007 with the generous support of Debra and Leon Black, MRA is the largest nonprofit funder of melanoma research. To date, MRA has awarded $131 million to 380 research programs. Thanks to the generous support of our founders, 100% of all donations to MRA go directly to research.

Letter from the Chair and CEO

The Melanoma Research Alliance was founded in 2007 with an unwavering commitment to end suffering and death due to melanoma. At the time, this mission wasn’t just ambitious — it was a complete rejection of the status quo.

Since then, MRA has become a world leader in advancing transformational science and has contributed to unprecedented progress on behalf of patients. To date, we’ve directly invested more than $131 million in research — and leveraged an additional $415 million from outside sources — to advance our mission.

In the last decade alone, more than 13 new therapeutic approaches for melanoma have earned FDA approval. Today, patients have more treatment options than ever before and many are living longer, fuller lives as a result.

The melanoma community is leading the way for oncology as a beacon of innovation and scientific excellence. In fact, the 2021 Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer (ARN), found a greater decline in deaths due to melanoma than all other cancers in the last several years.

Despite this progress, it still isn’t enough, as half of patients facing advanced melanoma are still not benefiting from available treatments. Many challenges remain, including:

  • Optimizing artificial intelligence to ensure all communities benefit from new detection tools;
  • Overcoming primary and secondary resistance to existing melanoma treatments;
  • Better understanding the unique features of rare melanoma subtypes needed to find more effective treatment options; and
  • Modulating the array of factors that can impact treatment effectiveness and quality of life.

We are tackling these and future challenges yet to come. This report features a few examples of our work over the last year.

MRA, in partnership with government, industry, patients, other foundations, and of course researchers, is hard at work unraveling some of the biggest unanswered questions facing patients today. Together we will continue to push forward and to overcome challenges needed to achieve our mission.

As always, we greatly appreciate the many individuals, organizations, government leaders, and companies whose support has allowed us to remain steadfast in our approach. Together, we will overcome the many challenges needed to achieve our mission.

Debra Black signature

Debra Black
Chair and Co-founder

Michael Kaplan
President and CEO