The Rebecca Garrison Sokoloff Melanoma Research Endowment
Rebecca fought long and hard against her disease. During the last two years of her life, her melanoma was effectively treated with a new form of targeted therapy. However, when the treatment stopped working and was withdrawn she suffered a rapid and irreversible decline.
Rebecca’s care team at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA had grown so attached to her over the years that they were all quite discouraged by their inability to help her. When similar cases of rapid decline began to occur, they decided to report their experience. One of their research fellows, Dr. Allison Ackerman, presented Rebecca’s story and those of similar patients at a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in June 2012. Dr. Ackerman’s poster detailing this story was easily the most viewed of all the melanoma posters presented at the conference. This work has led to collaborative efforts between the Dana Farber Harvard Cancer Center Melanoma Program and the Melanoma Institute Australia that were expected to lead to a clinical trial to determine the proper sequence of new melanoma therapies, so that patients do not miss the opportunity to obtain a remission of their disease.
To date, there has been no designated fund at Beth Israel to enable physicians like Dr. Ackerman to publish their findings in real time and attend important meetings like ASCO. The Rebecca Garrison Sokoloff Melanoma Research Endowment will fill that need.
The endowment will advance melanoma research and training by directly funding young researchers. It will:
provide key training and research opportunities for investigators focusing on leading edge melanoma work
help fellows who are conducting leading-edge clinical research to share their findings in real time
help others learn from their clinical research data
foster collaboration that will ultimately lead to new melanoma therapies and potentially provide more patients with the opportunity to obtain remission