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2024 CCR-DCEG FLEX Award

, by Elise Tookmanian, Ph.D.

Michael Sargen, Assistant Clinical Investigator

Michael Sargen

In February 2024, a collaborative project between the Center for Cancer Research (CCR) and DCEG titled, “Improving Pediatric Melanoma Outcomes in a Longitudinally Evaluated (P-MOLE) Cohort,” received the 2024 CCR-DCEG FLEX award. This award was established in 2015 to fund projects that capitalize on the complementary research approaches of CCR and DCEG. 

Michael R. Sargen, M.D., assistant clinical investigator in the Clinical Genetics Branch (CGB), and Dr. Marielle Yohe, Lasker clinical research scholar in CCR’s Laboratory of Cell and Developmental Signaling co-lead the project. The team includes colleagues from CGB and the Biostatistics Branch in DCEG and different laboratories in CCR. The researchers aim to establish the largest prospective study of pediatric melanoma in the U.S., the P-MOLE cohort. This cohort will bring together patients from the Atypical Spitzoid Tumor Study and clinical studies in CCR and other institutions. “By establishing the P-MOLE cohort, we hope to better understand the causes of melanoma in children and identify treatment strategies for this pediatric cancer,” said Dr. Sargen. Specifically, the researchers hope to characterize hereditary and other factors contributing to pediatric melanoma by determining germline variants contributing to the disease, conducting genomic analyses of pediatric melanomas, and developing a pediatric melanoma mouse model.  

“This work combines the epidemiologic and genomics expertise of DCEG investigators and the laboratory science and translational expertise of CCR to accomplish this goal,” said Dr. Sargen.