CHICAGO (CBS) -- Skin of Steel is determined to find a cure for melanoma, but the pandemic created challenges for the Chicago area organization's melanoma tissue collection.
As CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot reported Friday, the work of the organization is moving forward now that the pandemic is easing.
"If you're looking forward and looking for new cures - not just for melanoma, but all cancers - this work is crucial," said Dr. Jeffrey Wayne of Northwestern Medicine.
Dr. Wayne is the lead investigator for one of four U.S. branches of the Melanoma Tissue Bank Consortium, which has partnered with the Chicago area non-profit Skin of Steel. Wayne is also the chief of surgical oncology at Northwestern Medicine.
The following institutions are part of the consortium:
- Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University
- Hillman Cancer Center at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
- Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health and Science University
- California Pacific Medical Center
"To have the tissue and be able to analyze and test treatments and to see if a particular treatment might work on the cellular level before you take it and use it in patients - that's what this is all about," Wayne said.
One person dies from melanoma every 54 minutes. The skin cancer is commonly found through a mole that has changed size, shape, or color.
SPF 50 Sunscreen is among the best defenses to protect against melanoma.
"Wearing a wide brimmed hat, sunglasses – those are also important things people can do," Wayne said.
Trip Lane is a melanoma survivor.
"I've had melanoma 16 times - only one of which has metastasized," he said.
Lane is also on the Skin of Steel board.
"What attracted me to Skin of Steel was its goal of opening this tissue bank," he said.
In 2020, Northwestern University's Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center in Chicago partnered with Skin of Steel and the Melanoma Tissue Bank Consortium.
This summer, Northwestern started collecting tissue samples. They have collected more than 80 of the 500 samples needed for melanoma research.
Since 2013, Skin of Steel has raised close to $1 million for melanoma research - but those who have lost loved ones to this form of cancer say there's so much more that needs to be done.
Martha ReQua's husband, Chuck, died in 2004 after a battle with melanoma.
"It sort of came upon us by surprise," she said.
ReQua has raised more than $160,000 for research.
"This tissue bank is phenomenal," she said. "If they had had that when he was being diagnosed originally, it would have really helped."
The tissue collected will be able to be used by researchers around the world.
The tissue collected will be able to be used by researchers around the world. To learn more about Skin of Steel and their upcoming 7th Annual memorial walk in honor of founder, Susan Steel, follow this link. You can donate to Skin of Steel at this link.
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