Interdisciplinary Melanoma Cooperative Group (IMCG)
Despite recent advancements in public awareness, melanoma remains a highly morbid disease in the United States and incidence has continued to rise sharply over the past few decades. Importantly, melanoma is one of the more frequent cancers in young adults and the second most common cancer among women ages 20-29. Because of the relatively young age of onset, the toll of melanoma in terms of "life-years lost" is the highest of all solid tumor malignancies in the United States. The annual estimated cost of treating melanoma in the United States is over $3.1 billion, with 90% of treatment costs associated with therapy for advanced disease. Survival rates are high with early diagnoses but remain poor for patients diagnosed with late stage disease.
The mission of the NYU Cancer Institute's Interdisciplinary Melanoma Cooperative Group (IMCG) is to reduce the morbidity and mortality of melanoma through focused translational research. The IMCG currently includes 33 investigators representing 11 different departments of the New York University School of Medicine, such as dermatologists, surgeons, biostatisticians, basic scientists, pathologists, and medical oncologists. An integral component of the IMCG is a prospective clinicopathological database featuring clinical information linked to tissues and blood specimens from melanoma patients who come to the NYUCI for their care.
The mission of the IMCG is to:
- Develop models for melanoma that incorporate genetic risk markers for early diagnosis and better prediction of treatment results
- Determine critical biological mechanisms of tumor progression and resistance to treatments that can be exploited to develop new mechanism‐based therapies
- Develop novel immunologic and targeted therapy approaches for treatment of melanoma
With these objectives in mind, the investigators of the IMCG aim to create coherent interdisciplinary research projects. IMCG members have published extensively about their research, furthering the understanding of melanoma. The common scientific interests and goals shared by our researchers foster vigorous interactions and collaborations. Intra-programmatic collaborations and publications increase every year.
There are numerous research strengths supporting the IMCG, including:
- A large number of patients with melanoma (more than 1,000 patients seen each year)
- A collaborative translational research program which drives active research
- An immunotherapy program, which evaluates novel cell-based approaches in combination with established or innovative therapies to treat melanoma patients
- An active clinical trial program which is initiated by investigators and sponsored by both pharmaceutical companies, the National Cancer Institute, and private foundations.