MRF Breakthrough Consortium

The MRF Breakthrough Consortium (MRFBC)

Responding to a need for greater investigation into the urgent need for combination treatments, the MRF convened a meeting of leading doctors and researchers from melanoma centers of excellence across the United States. This meeting led to the creation of the MRF Breakthrough Consortium in 2010.

The MRFBC is a national network of 20 centers of excellence in melanoma that collaborate to accelerate drug development of combination therapies. The Consortium institutions have a demonstrated track record of receiving NIH/peer-reviewed funding for multidisciplinary research in melanoma, publications in major medical journals, presentations at the major cancer and melanoma meetings, clinical trial expertise and patient care.

Read about the MRFBC’s Mission and Core Strategies and see the participating sites.

View the MRFBC brochure. (Downloadable PDF)

MRFBC Progress

Since its founding, the Consortium has made great progress towards its core strategies. Specifically, the MRFBC has progressed in the following ways:

Clinical Trials of Combination Therapies

Worked with partners to develop and launch multicenter trials:

  • 4 in BRAF mutant melanoma
  • 3 in wild-type (non-BRAF mutant) melanoma
  • In 2016, will launch a 12-institution biomarker trial for patients with mucosal melanoma or acral lentiginous melanoma who will be treated with combination checkpoint inhibitor therapy.

Virtual Repository

  • Collected over 800 specimens (including plasma, tumor tissue and genomic DNA pellets). 
  • In 2016, will expand the Virtual Repository to include biospecimens from patients with mucosal melanoma and acral lentiginous melanoma.

Translational Research

  • Developed two translational science projects that successfully competed for funding.
  • Dispersed BRAF mutant melanoma specimens from the Virtual Repository to three high-impact biomarker research projects.

Preclinical Research

  • Studied 40 compounds in a variety of genetically relevant cell lines in order to determine optimal combinations of targeted therapies

Investigator Meetings

  • Convened biannual investigator meetings to provide an independent forum to strategize multicenter collaborative research projects
  • In conjunction with the MRF's SAC, participated in the summit to discuss the current understanding of, and future recommendations for, melanoma research.  The outcomes of the discussion were summarized in a Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research article entitled, “The State of Melanoma: Challenges and Opportunities” (PMID: 27087480).