Arizona Cancer Center to form Pan-Pacific Skin Cancer Consortium

Arizona Cancer Center to form Pan-Pacific Skin Cancer Consortium

Researchers from halfway around the globe will join forces with colleagues at the Arizona Cancer Center to jointly develop skin cancer prevention and treatment strategies.

A grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies will support development of the Pan-Pacific Skin Cancer Consortium with the AZCC and Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) in Australia. The initial one-year, $500,000 award, shared between the two institutions, will fund new international collaborations in cutting-edge skin cancer research to address an increasingly severe disease problem in Australia and the US, and for development of standard practices for acquiring human skin cancer patient data and tissue specimens.

“This Pan-Pacific Skin Cancer Consortium will link outstanding researchers, teachers and students from Australia and the United States and multiply all of our ongoing efforts in prevention, detection and treatment of skin cancer,” said David S. Alberts, MD, Arizona Cancer Center director, and Robin Harris, PhD, co-director of the AZCC’s Skin Cancer Institute. “We are grateful to The Atlantic Philanthropies for their confidence, and we expect to create some outstanding partnerships.”

Skin cancer has a higher incidence than all other kinds of cancer combined in the US, with more than 3 million new skin cancers diagnosed in 2009. Arizona has among the highest skin cancer rates in the world, which is exceeded by Queensland, Australia. Melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, claims 8,000 lives each year in the US and 2,000 lives in Australia.

“The development of new preventative diagnostic and treatment modalities for the control of skin cancer absolutely requires team science approaches, meaning collaborations between scientists and clinicians from a variety of backgrounds and training,” Dr. Alberts said.

“Queensland skin cancer researchers are delighted to be partnered with colleagues from the world-renowned AZCC. Cancers of the skin are a major health burden in our part of the world, and we are striving to find new and better ways to control these diseases,” said David Whiteman, PhD, head of the Cancer Control Group at QIMR. “This consortium gives us the opportunity to work closely with Arizona researchers across the spectrum of prevention, early diagnosis and better treatment.”

The Arizona Cancer Center’s Skin Cancer Institute will be the local host organization for the consortium. The Arizona Cancer Center has had a major research focus on skin cancer prevention for three decades with continuous multi-million dollar research grants from the National Cancer Institute to support research. The Skin Cancer Institute has more than 30 members engaged in research in some aspect of skin cancer prevention, diagnosis or treatment.
Plans call for an initial consortium meeting to be held in Fall 2010 at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, a community partner of the Skin Cancer Institute.

About The Atlantic Philanthropies
The Atlantic Philanthropies are dedicated to bringing about lasting changes in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. Atlantic focuses on four critical social problems: Ageing, Children and Youth, Population Health, and Reconciliation and Human Rights. Programs funded by Atlantic operate in Australia, Bermuda, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Viet Nam. To learn more, please visit: www.atlanticphilanthropies.org

Aug. 31, 2010