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Last Updated: 09/20/17


Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The three major types of skin cancer are the highly curable basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinomas and the more serious malignant melanoma. Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays appears to be the most important environmental factor involved in the development of skin cancer. Individuals at high risk for melanoma have also been identified, some of whom have been found to carry mutations in several cancer-related genes. Over 76,380 individuals in the United States will be diagnosed with “malignant” skin cancer in 2016 (excluding basal and squamous cell carcinoma) and 10,130 individuals will die of this disease. Five-year survival rates are at 91.5%

The five skin SPOREs are focused predominantly on melanoma research activities, but also include projects focused on the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). The translational activities for melanoma include the development of highly promising immunotherapies including interferon alpha, the checkpoint inhibitors, PD1 and CTLA4, and engineered T cell therapy. Combinational targeted pathway therapy approaches are addressing tumor resistance and recurrence. The SPOREs use extensive genomic analysis of tumor samples to characterize risk and prognostic biomarkers, and novel animal and cell culture models are used to test therapeutic or preventative agents. This groups efficiently collaborate to share ideas, bio-specimens, results, data, resources, and clinical populations.

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center

Vernon Sondak, M.D. [Click Here]
Chair, Department of Cutaneous Oncology
12902 Magnolia Drive
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
Tampa, FL 33612
Phone: 813-745-8788
Fax: 813-745-7211

University of Pittsburgh

John M. Kirkwood, MD [Click Here]
Usher Professor of Medicine and Dermatology
Vice Chairman/Clinical Research, Dept. of Medicine
Director, Melanoma and Skin Cancer Program
University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
Department of Medicine
5117 Centre Avenue
Hillman Cancer Center, Room 1.32
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Tel: (412) 623-7707
Fax: (412) 623-7704

For more information on this specific SPORE’s institution, please visit:

Wistar Institute

Meenhard Folkens Herlyn, D.V.M., D.Sc. [Click Here]
Caspar Wistar Professor in Melanoma Research
Director, The Wistar Institute Melanoma Research Center
Professor, Molecular and Cellular Oncogenesis Program
The Wistar Institute
3601 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Tel: (215) 898-3950
Fax: (215) 898-0980

For more information on this specific SPORE’s institution, please visit:

Yale University

Ruth Halaban, PhD [Click Here]
Senior Research Scientist
Yale University School of Medicine
Department of Dermatology
PO Box 208059
HRT 610/LCI 500
New Haven, CT 06520
Tel: (203) 785-4352
Fax: (203) 785-7637

For more information on this specific SPORE’s institution, please visit: