About Skin of Steel
Skin of Steel is working toward a cure for melanoma by supporting the development
of a national, collaborative Melanoma Tissue Bank. Research of other cancers like
breast and prostate have benefited enormously from having access to primary
tumor tissue through tissue banks. Melanoma researchers need a similar resource in
order to make advances in treatment and, eventually, find a cure.
Why is this bank needed?
A national Melanoma Tissue Bank of annotated, fresh-frozen, primary melanoma
tissue is the fundamental research tool that does not exist yet for public or private
research. Consequently, melanoma research lags significantly behind the progress
that has been made in other cancer research.
How will this bank be different?
Several individual melanoma tissue banks already exist at research institutions.
Most lack “fresh frozen” samples of “primary” tumor tissue; even fewer preserve
both DNA and RNA. They also lack the network necessary to have a national
sample tissue pool of sufficient size, demographics, and full annotation for effective
What will researchers learn?
Susceptibility, diagnostic, and prognostic biomarkers for melanoma are anticipated
to be identified from the research generated by the Melanoma Tissue Bank, leading
to more effective personalized diagnostics, preemptive treatment, and targeted
What are the goals and who’s involved?
The Melanoma Tissue Bank will have branches at four medical research institutions
across the U.S.:
• University of Pittsburgh Medical Center – Principal Investigator John Kirkwood,
• California Pacific Medical Center – Principal Investigator Mohammed Kashani-
• Oregon Health & Science University – Principal Investigator Sancy Leachman, M.D.
• Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center at Northwestern University – Principal Investigator
Jeffrey Wayne, M.D.
Each institution is recognized for its proven commitment to melanoma research.
This network will gather 500 melanoma specimens with full annotation and
accompanying blood and urine samples over two years, yielding 50,000 assays for
research. Both public and private medical researchers engaged in qualified research
will be able to access the tissue bank and data for minimal administrative fees.
How much funding does the bank need?
A total of $3.3M covers the first three years of start up and maintenance.
Melanoma, one of the most genetically complex cancers, has enough research
laboratories. Now the right tissue specimens are needed to change the landscape of