The Melanoma Program is a multidisciplinary team developed over 30 years ago to discover new treatments and provide state-of-the-art treatment for patients with melanoma in Connecticut and beyond. In order to achieve its objectives, the Melanoma Program brings together scientists, specialists in melanoma surgery, medical oncologists devoted to melanoma treatment, dermatologists, pathologists, dermatopathologists, radiologists, geneticists, and psychotherapists.
The Melanoma Program is co-directed by Dr. Deepak Narayan and Dr. Mario Sznol. Dr. Naryan is a nationally recognized plastic surgeon. Dr. Sznol is a Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology) and has an international reputation in cancer drug development.
Clinical care of melanoma patients at Smilow Cancer Hospital is a coordinated effort of the Melanoma Program surgeons, medical oncologists, dermatologists, radiologists, surgical and dermatologic pathologists, and radiologists. Dr. Narayan directs a weekly tumor board conference in which care and management of patients is discussed among the program members. Clinical history, physical exam findings, surgical procedures, x-ray studies, and pathology slides are reviewed at the conference, and optimal approaches to treatment are proposed and discussed at length.
The basic foundations of the Melanoma Program are basic research, clinical research, and skilled multidisciplinary care of patients. The Yale SPORE in Skin Cancer grant from the National Institutes of Health, one of only 5 in the country,
is an $11.5 million grant to improve risk assessment, measures for diagnosis and prognosis, and therapies for patients with two types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma and melanoma.
Dr. Sznol leads the Melanoma Program clinical research initiatives. The goal of the clinical research program is to introduce and investigate novel treatments for patients with melanoma. Currently, over thirty clinical trials are available for patients with melanoma at Smilow Cancer Hospital, including novel chemotherapy regimens, anti-angiogenesis agents (drugs that destroy or inhibit the formation of blood vessels that feed tumors), and new agents that stimulate the body’s immune system to attack the melanoma tumors. In addition, patients with metastatic melanoma who are no longer eligible for melanoma-specific studies may be offered novel cancer treatments through the Yale Cancer Center Phase I Clinical Trial Program.