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Celebrating The Wistar Institute Melanoma Awareness Day at Citizens Bank Park

Presented by Citizens Bank and Independence Blue Cross

PHILADELPHIA—(May 16, 2013) – Beautiful weather and Philadelphia Phillies baseball are two ingredients for a perfect spring day. This Sunday, May 19th, is The Wistar Institute Melanoma Awareness Day at Citizens Bank Park. As the Phils battle the Cincinnati Reds, the Institute will remind baseball fans that, while basking in the excitement of Phillies baseball is great, basking in the dangerous rays of the sun is not. The day is presented through the generous support of Citizens Bank and Independence Blue Cross.

Melanoma rates are on the rise and, while melanoma only comprises 5 percent of skin cancer cases, it is responsible for almost 75 percent of skin cancer deaths. The disease is chiefly caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from either the sun or tanning beds. According to the American Cancer Society, 76,690 Americans will develop melanoma this year and 9,480 will die from the disease.

Wistar’s President and CEO, Russel E. Kaufman, M.D., will be throwing out the first pitch, and Wistar staffers and scientists, alike, will be at the entrance gates to spread the word about how Phillies fans can prevent melanoma and what steps they should take to detect the disease as early as possible. Dermatologists from the University of Pennsylvania will be on hand to conduct quick exams on the easily visible skin of patrons. In addition, all fans will receive a sunscreen packet courtesy of Citizens Bank and kids 14 years of age and under will receive a floppy hat.

“For decades, The Wistar Institute has been an international leader in melanoma research. Our scientific advances have contributed significantly to recent breakthrough therapies against metastatic melanoma,” said Kaufman. “However, there is still a desperate need for new therapies and strategies to treat the advanced cases of melanoma beyond the reach of current drugs, and that is the aim of the researchers at Wistar’s Melanoma Research Center.”

The Wistar Institute Melanoma Research Center strives to understand the unique biology of melanoma in order to develop new therapies against the disease. The center serves as a way for researchers to partner with clinicians – a framework of connections that brings scientists, physicians, the life sciences industry, and melanoma advocates together to save lives through new and better therapies.

Wistar scientists have made huge strides in understanding the biology that underlies melanoma. From basic genetics to the mechanics of drug resistance to the development of new therapeutics, Wistar research informs a global network of melanoma scientists with the aim of improving care for people with metastatic melanoma. Wistar also creates new tools for melanoma research, including three-dimensional “artificial skin” that serves as a model for studying how living tumors behave, as well as a proving ground for new therapeutics.

For more information on Wistar and melanoma research visit


The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research with special expertise in cancer research and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the country, Wistar has long held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute. The Institute works actively to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible. The Wistar Institute: Today’s Discoveries – Tomorrow’s Cures. On the web at


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