In the past couple of years, melanoma research has gone into hyperdrive. After many frustrating decades watching incidence soar and too many patients die, the efforts of countless scientists worldwide are coming to fruition, offering tangible benefits here and now as well as remarkable promise for the future. This is true in virtually every area of endeavor across the entire spectrum of melanoma investigation, from epidemiology and prevention to diagnosis, staging, and treatment.
Thanks to new and improved detection methods, tumors are being discovered earlier, when much more treatable, and discoveries at the molecular and genetic levels are giving us a far greater understanding of the underpinnings of different melanomas, leading to more targeted treatment methods that are finally giving patients with advanced disease a fighting chance for delayed recurrence and even extended overall survival.
Normally in The Melanoma Letter, we invite experts to provide succinct, probing analyses of their recent work or other topics relevant to the melanoma community. However, given the recent accelerated pace of developments in the field, we have strayed a bit from our usual format in this current issue, taking it upon ourselves to present a general overview of the current state of the art of melanoma research. We hope that this will provide some perspective on the broad range of exciting developments in our field, and set the stage for more focused, in-depth stories anticipated from our colleagues later this year and beyond.
As a final note, we would like to offer our profound gratitude to Alfred W. Kopf, MD, one of the founding editors of this publication, who has remained a valued member of the editorial staff since its inception in 1983 – about a third of his life, as he recently pointed out to us. Now Professor Emeritus of Dermatology at New York University School of Medicine, Dr. Kopf is choosing to step down as Consulting Editor of The Melanoma Letter, a position he has held since 1991, helping to shape every single issue we have published. While we respect his decision to embrace retirement more fully, we are very sorry to lose the benefit of his knowledge, experience, prestige, and wisdom. Out of our appreciation for his unparalleled impact on the publication, Dr. Kopf will remain on the masthead as Editor Emeritus. Dr. Kopf, we will sorely miss the opportunity to interact with you on a regular basis. Our very warmest regards and best wishes.
Allan C. Halpern, MD
Ashfaq A. Marghoob, MD