May is Melanoma Awareness Month: Skin Cancer Experts Are Available For Interviews

Released: 30-Apr-2010 5:20 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: NYU Langone Medical Center
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Newswise — May is Melanoma Awareness Month—calling attention to a disease that kills one American every hour. Melanoma however, if detected early, can often be successfully treated. Melanoma experts at NYU Langone Medical Center's Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology and the NYU Cancer Institute, are available to discuss melanoma, including the best ways to identify a suspicious mole, how to prevent and reduce the risk of the disease, and current treatments and therapies, including a potential melanoma vaccine.

Melanoma News:

Annual Free Skin Cancer Screening at NYU Langone Medical Center on May 6, 2010

NYU Langone Medical Center will host its annual free skin cancer screening on Thursday, May 6, 2010 from 1:30 PM to 5:00 PM. The screenings will take place at 550 First Avenue in the Charles C. Harris Skin and Cancer Pavilion on the first floor of the Medical Center. The free screening is a collaboration between NYU’s Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology and American Academy of Dermatology. All are welcome to participate in the free screening, especially those who have a changing mole, a history of melanoma, or who are over the age of 50 and do not have a regular dermatologist. No appointment is necessary. Also, screening participants will be given the opportunity to volunteer for a new study designed to investigate the genetic factors that may predispose patients to develop melanoma. Enrollment in the study includes a short questionnaire, a photograph of their back to assess the number of moles and sun damage to their skin, and a sample of their saliva to collect their DNA. Once enough study samples are collected the DNA of melanoma patients will be compared with the DNA of non-melanoma patients to identify any gene variations.

Center of Excellence in Cancers of the Skin at NYU Langone Medical Center

More than 1000 new melanoma patients are seen annually at NYU Langone Medical Center. Under the auspices of the institution’s Center of Excellence in Cancers of the Skin, researchers have access to one of the nation's largest melanoma databases. Through the efforts of the Center's Interdisciplinary Melanoma Cooperative Group (IMCG), melanoma tissue, blood specimens and accompanying clinical information from over 1400 patients have been archived to date. The Center of Excellence's goal is to advance the health of skin cancer patients through a coordinated approach combining basic science, translational research and clinical care. Some 40 researchers from over a dozen disciplines are investigating the genetic risk factors for developing melanoma, prognostic blood and pathology markers, vaccine strategies and the development of therapeutic drugs to treat those with advanced disease.

- Seth J. Orlow, MD, PhD
Chairman, Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology
Samuel Weinberg Professor of Pediatric Dermatology
Professor of Cell Biology and of Pediatrics
Director, NYU Center of Excellence on Cancers of the Skin

25th Anniversary of the Development of the ABCDEs of Melanoma Detection Guide at NYU

2010 marks the 25th-year anniversary of the development of the ABCDEs that provide criteria for diagnosing skin cancer including melanoma. Created by dermatologists at NYU Langone Medical Center, the ABCDEs are a quick and simple guide for self examination of the skin in order to detect moles that could be cancerous. The ABCDEs for melanoma detection are:

A is for Asymmetry where one-half of the mole is unlike the other.
B is for Border where the mole is irregular, scalloped or poorly defined.
C is for Color which varies from one area to another or has different shades of tan, brown, black and sometimes white, red or blue.
D is for Diameter of a mole when it is bigger than the size of a pencil eraser.
E is for Evolving or changing in size, shape or color.

- David Polsky MD, PhD
Associate Professor
Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology
Director, NYU Pigmented Lesion Clinic
Center of Excellence on Cancers of the Skin
NYU Langone Medical Center

Melanoma Vaccine Trial for Advanced Melanoma Patients at NYU Langone Medical Center

Melanoma vaccines are designed to teach the body’s immune system to suppress the spread of cancer cells. In fact, patients who are diagnosed with melanoma that have lesions thicker than 4 millimeters are at highest risk of the cancer metastasizing. A new clinical trial at NYU Langone Medical Center is using a cancer vaccine called NY-ESO-1 in advanced melanoma patients, to prevent cancer from spreading to lymph nodes and nearby organs. NY-ESO-1 is a protein expressed in certain cancer cells, including melanomas. The vaccine made up of this protein is injected into stage II and stage III melanoma patients in four doses three weeks apart. In the trial, the safety and antitumor response to the vaccine alone and combined with other immune-boosting agents is being investigated. The Phase I/II trial is in its earliest stages and it is hoped the vaccine will significantly increase immune response and patient survival.

- Nina Bhardwaj, MD, PhD
Professor
Medicine, Pathology, and Dermatology
Director, Tumor Vaccine Program
NYU Cancer Institute

- Anna Pavlick, DO
Associate Professor
Medicine and Dermatology
Director, Melanoma Program
NYU Cancer Institute

Panel Advises FDA to Strengthen Restriction on Artificial Tanning

In March 2010, a panel of health experts advised the FDA to put tighter controls on artificial tanning including bolder labeling and recommending parental consent for teens. In fact, studies show that people using tanning beds before the age of 35 have up to a 75 percent higher risk for developing melanoma. Dermatologists at NYU Langone Medical Center applaud the FDA for trying to curb artificial tanning in teens and adults and stress the harmful effects of indoor tanning. Doctors stress the importance of the application of sunscreen daily and regular skin checks using the ABCDEs guide for melanoma detection to find any suspicious moles.

High Risk for Melanoma: Do You Have a Skin History?

Are you high risk for melanoma? Do you have a significant amount of moles, especially some that are atypical? If so, a new total body photography and mole-mapping tool called MoleSafe may be the best way to be screened fully for melanoma. The technology creates a digital, baseline skin history and allows dermatologists to track any suspicious moles or future changes in your skin over time. NYU Langone is the first academic medical center in the United States to use this tool – combining full body photography with the skills of highly qualified dermatologists to diagnose melanoma at the earliest possible stage.

- Jennifer A. Stein, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor,
Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology
Associate Director, NYU Pigmented Lesion Clinic
Center of Excellence on Cancers of the Skin
NYU Langone Medical Center



About NYU Langone Medical Center:
NYU Langone Medical Center is one of the nation's premier centers of excellence in healthcare, biomedical research, and medical education. For over 168 years, NYU physicians and researchers have made countless contributions to the practice and science of health care. Today the Medical Center consists of NYU School of Medicine, including the Smilow Research Center, the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, and the Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences; and the NYU Hospitals Center, including Tisch Hospital, a 705-bed acute-care general hospital, Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, the first and largest facility of its kind, and NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases, a leader in musculoskeletal care, a Clinical Cancer Center and numerous ambulatory sites.


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