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Dr. Michal Lotem, head of Hadassah Medical Organization’s Center for Melanoma and Cancer Immunotherapy, has been awarded a grant from the prestigious Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA).
The grant, for $337,500 over three years, was given to the Hadassah team, including Dr. Galit Eisenberg and Dr. Roni Engelstein, to find the best method of treating melanoma under lab conditions and to identify a medication that will prove effective against the disease in patients.
“We are honored that MRA has acknowledged the exciting potential of the work we are doing,” said Dr. Lotem. “Today we are seeing a revolution in the treatment of melanoma and the Hadassah Medical Organization is among the world’s leaders because we have always believed the immune system can combat cancer. In recent years, we have confirmed the significance of the immune system’s role in eradicating the disease. Therefore, every discovery that confirms our line of research opens an additional treatment approach, great news for patients who now have the potential to receive the help they need.”
The research concept involves a receptor on the surface of inflamed cells that Dr. Lotem and her research team located. This receptor regulates the actions the cells can take. The Hadassah team has also found a way to activate and stimulate this receptor to accelerate a patient’s immune response against melanoma cells.
In 2014, Dr. Lotem developed an enhanced, more powerful version of her 1998 ground-breaking personalized melanoma vaccine, using patients’ own tumor cells as well as cells from others who have molecularly similar tumors. Over the past 16 years, these vaccines have stopped the progression and/or recurrence of melanoma in over 200 patients.
The Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA)
MRA is a public charity formed in 2007 under the auspices of the Milken Institute, with the generous founding support of Debra and Leon Black. MRA to date has dedicated more than $51 million to research seeking to better prevent, diagnose, and treat melanoma. Due to the ongoing support of its founders, 100% of every dollar MRA raises goes to support its melanoma research program. The organization is poised to build on recent momentum in the field, accelerating the pace of scientific discovery and translation in order to eliminate suffering and death due to melanoma. MRA’s ability to fund wide-ranging research in melanoma is amplified by unique multi-faceted collaborations and partnerships with individuals, private foundations and corporations.
Hadassah, The Woman’s Zionist Organization, Inc.
Hadassah, founded in 1912, is the largest women's Zionist Jewish membership organization in the United States. 330,000 members, Associates and donors strong, Hadassah is now in its second century, growing its commitment to innovative and life-changing medical care and research, women's empowerment, education, advocacy, philanthropy and building Jewish identity-in Israel, America and around the world. For more information, visit www.hadassah.org.
Hadassah is the largest Jewish women’s organization in the United States. With 330,000 members, associates and supporters across the country, Hadassah brings Jewish women together to effect change and advocate on criticalissues such as medical care and research, women's empowerment, and the security of Israel. Through the Hadassah Medical Organization's (HMO) two hospitals, the world-renowned trauma center and the leading research facility in Jerusalem, Hadassah supports the delivery of exemplary patient care to over a million people every year. HMO serves without regard to race, religion or nationality and earned a Nobel Peace Prize Nomination in 2005 for building “bridges to peace” through equality in medical treatment. For more information, visit www.hadassah.org.