Interdisciplinary Melanoma Cooperative Group

Melanoma is one of the most serious forms of skin cancer. Melanoma originates in the melanocytes, the cells that produce the melanin pigment that colors the skin and helps to protect it from the harmful effects of the sun.

The New York University Interdisciplinary Melanoma Cooperative Group (IMCG) is a multidisciplinary, translational melanoma research program inaugurated in 2002. The IMCG consists of 33 investigators, representing 11 departments of the NYU School of Medicine. Its core mission is to: 1) identify risk factors and prognostic markers of melanoma progression; 2) evaluate the biologic heterogeneity of melanoma; and 3) establish combination approaches for treating melanoma that integrate immunotherapeutic, chemotherapeutic and biological therapies. These common scientific interests and goals serve to foster vigorous interactions and collaborations between members of the IMCG, each of whom has a unique area of expertise.

The strength of this program stems from NYU’s world-class faculty of clinicians and researchers and its long-established reputation as a premier tertiary referral center for patients requiring specialized treatment for melanoma. Additionally, the IMCG has enrolled more than seventeen thousand patients since 2002, collecting their blood, tissue specimens, and clinical information. These samples and corresponding clinical data provide an unparalleled resource for the study of how to improve melanoma treatment. The progress to date is evident as IMCG researchers have over 100 publications to their credit and active collaborations and prolific research efforts continue to unite them as the front line in the fight against melanoma.

Dr. Iman Osman

Melanoma is almost always curable in its early stages, but over time it can spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma is less common than basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers, but it can be far more deadly. Early detection and identification of melanoma is critical in helping patients get timely care. Researchers at NYU have played a central role in the development and dissemination of information regarding five key warning signs of melanoma, also called the “ABCDE’s of melanoma”:

A stands for Asymmetry
B stands for Border irregularity
C stands for Color variation
D stands for Diameter larger than ¼ inch or the size of a pencil eraser
E stands for Evolving (i.e. a change in mole size, color, elevation, surrounding skin, surface, or sensation).

/IMCG 2011