Melanoma Program Expands, Adds Expertise


The UNC Melanoma program has grown more than five-fold over the last decade, with more than five hundred new melanoma patients seen each year. Program co-directors Nancy Thomas, MD, PhD, and David Ollila, MD, see this growth as the result of expanding expertise through strategic hires, a broad range of dermatologic and surgical expertise, and a strong portfolio of clinical trials of systemic therapies for melanoma.


After building depth in surgical oncology, Thomas and Ollila are very pleased with several recent hires in other disciplines.“Dr. Dan Zedek is an outstanding dermatopathologist whose expertise adds to our ability to accurately diagnose and stage cutaneous malignancies and Drs. Patricia Mauro and Craig Burkhart have helped us expand our pigmented lesion program. Dr. Brad Merritt is running a very busy Moh’s surgery program. And now, with the addition of Dr. Puneet Jolly, we have a full complement of dermatologic expertise to assist patients and referring physicians," they explain.


"Dr. Stergios Moschos is a melanoma medical oncologist-physician/scientist who also recently joined us from the University of Pittsburgh Melanoma program, where he was involved in the identification of molecules that play a role in melanoma development in addition to his involvement as a clinical researcher in investigator-initiated and pharma-sponsored trials testing compounds, such as vemurafenib that led to its FDA approval in 2011 for metastatic melanoma."


View Melanoma Program's website.


UNC Physicians Advocate for Laws Preventing Teenage Tanning Bed Use


The World Health Organization and all specialty groups involved with treatment of melanoma have recommended banning indoor tanning beds for children under 18 years of age.


Despite the proven serious risks of early exposure to indoor tanning bed radiation, children 13 years of age and older are able to use indoor tanning beds in North Carolina. Among states that have indoor tanning laws, North Carolina is one of the least protective.


Dr. David Ollila (Surgical Oncology) and Dr. Craig Burkhart (Pediatric Dermatology) are hoping to change this.  They are teaming up with North Carolina state legislators and medical and patient advocacy groups to pass an indoor tanning bed bill that would ban indoor tanning bed use for children under 18 years of age.


Learn more about their efforts.




L-R: Drs. Long, Ollila, Thomas and Young at last year's Conference on Melanoma. Register now for the 2013 conference to be held on February 6 and 7.


Featured Melanoma Clinical Trials

Phase III Randomized Study of Adjuvant High-Dose versus Low-Dose Adjuvant Ipilimumab versus Adjuvant High-Dose Interferon Alpha2b for Completely Resected High-Risk Melanoma (E1609/11-2100).  Patients with completely resected melanoma (AJCC IIIB-M1b) will be randomized 1:1:1 to receive one-year-long therapy.


Two clinical studies testing the combination of BRAF inhibitor, dabrafenib (GSK211436), and the MEK inhibitor, trametinib (GSK1120212), in unresectable stage III and stage IV BRAF-mutant, systemic treatment-naïve melanoma. One study is a multi center phase III study and the other is an investigator-initiated phase II study in which tumor biopsies will be collected before treatment and at disease progression to assess mechanisms that the tumor escapes from concurrent B-RAF and N-RAS inhibition using a proprietary UNC-Chapel Hill technology (Kinomemining).


A phase 1 study to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of SCH900353 in subjects with advanced solid tumors; Melanoma, CRC (MK-8353-001). Patients with B-RAF inhibitor resistant BRAF mutant melanoma, or N-RAS mutant metastatic melanoma, or K-RAS mutant colorectal cancer irrespective of prior therapies are allowed to participate.


Randomized, Phase II Study of MK-3475 versus Chemotherapy in Patients with Advanced Melanoma.

Patients with metastatic unresectable melanoma who have progressed through ipilimumab are allowed. If patients get randomized to chemotherapy they are allowed to crossover to MK-3475 (antibody against PD-1).


To Open Soon: A Phase 1b/2, Multicenter, Open-label Trial to Evaluate the Safety and  Efficacy of Talimogene Laherparepvec and Ipilimumab Compared to Ipilimumab Alone in Subjects With Previously Untreated, Unresectable, Stage IIIb-IV Melanoma.

Patients with unresectable melanoma who have not received prior therapy and have disease that can be injected will receive ONCOVEX intratumorally plus ipilimumab.



Register Now for the Annual UNC Conference on Melanoma


Held in Chapel Hill, North Carolina at the Friday Center for Continuing Education on February 6 and 7, 2013, this program primarily targets Dermatologists, Medical Oncologists, Dermatologic Surgeons, Surgical Oncologists, General Surgeons, Plastic Surgeons, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners and other health professionals who are interested in the treatment of melanoma.


Learn more about the conference and register now.



More Information

For more information about Melanoma clinical trials at UNC, call 919-966-4432. For more information about Melanoma clinical trials offered offsite, call 919-966-7359.


For more information about the Melanoma Program, including how to refer a patient, visit the program's website.

UNC Lineberger    N.C. Cancer Hospital    Clinical Trials     Clinical Programs    Comprehensive Cancer Support


For questions about all clinical trials at UNC, contact the UNC Lineberger Protocol Office at 919-966-4432 or (toll-free) 1-877-668-0683. For questions about clinical trials offered at other sites, contact the UNC Cancer Network at 919-966-7359 or (toll-free) 1-877-668-0683.


To make an appointment at the N.C. Cancer Hospital for one of your patients, visit our web page for referring physicians. You may also contact the Carolina Consultation Center at 1-800-862-6264.