President’s Message: September 2019

I write this month’s letter with a broad smile and a great deal of anticipation. You may have read our special announcement email last week and already know this news, but if not, I’m happy to announce it again.

On Monday, September 9, 2019, AIM at Melanoma opened the second branch of the International Melanoma Tissue Bank Consortium. This branch is in San Francisco, at California Pacific Medical Center. Our first location opened last April, at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The other four sites will open soon, expanding tissue collection, freezing, and research to all six global locations. Please see the press release in this month’s newsletter for more details.

I just returned from the 26th bi-annual meeting of the International Melanoma Working Group (IMWG). This unique meeting was begun 13 years ago by John M. Kirkwood, M.D., and me to address a need in the melanoma scientific community for a collegial, high-level, think tank-style meeting to share ideas, theories, research, and plans. No other melanoma meetings have researchers and industry partners—let alone an advocacy group like AIM—sitting at the same table.

A few weeks before IMWG I was in Virginia, hosting another AIM conference called Women in Melanoma (WIM). This meeting is also unique. As is true in many medical fields, the older more experienced oncology generation is primarily male, and therefore it’s not surprising that scientific conferences attendees are also heavily male. But the newer, younger generation in medicine is at least half female, and I wanted to gather together promising “young” women in melanoma oncology (from PhDs to MDs to PAs to RNs) to elicit a fresh perspective on research, treatment, and care. This year’s meeting, the third annual, covered a wide variety of topics, from neoadjuvant therapy in Stage II/III and the decision about whether to take it, to the difficult discussions physicians and patients have around end of treatment and end of life.

There’s a lot more in this month’s newsletter. I hope you enjoy it.

Valerie Guild
Founder & President
AIM at Melanoma Foundation
The Foundation Working to End Melanoma

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