Sam Donaldson Becomes Honorary Member of Melanoma Advisory Board

Sam Donaldson Becomes Honorary Member of Melanoma Advisory Board

Legendary ABC News correspondent and cancer research advocate Sam Donaldson has been named to an honorary position on Wistar’s Melanoma Research Center Advisory Board.

Sam Donaldson with Meenhard Herlyn (L) in the lab.Donaldson joins a team of melanoma research advocates in furthering the mission of The Wistar Institute Melanoma Research Center (MRC) to create new and more effective treatments against the disease. The advisory board performs a crucial role in expanding the influence of the center so that it may meet its goals of advancing the science of melanoma and driving new treatments into the hands of oncologists.

“I’m glad to enter into this partnership with Wistar,” said Donaldson, who is also a survivor of the disease. “No one person can fight melanoma alone, and it’s vital that we continue to invest in melanoma research to unlock better therapies and ultimately find a cure.”

Launched in May 2010, the MRC was designed to expand upon Wistar’s prominence in the study of melanoma, an often deadly form of skin cancer diagnosed in over 68,000 Americans every year. While the incidence of many cancers has begun to decrease in the U.S., the opposite is true for melanoma. The numbers of new cases and deaths have been rising sharply, doubling over the last 30 years, and are expected to continue to do so for years to come. Melanoma currently kills 8,600 people in this country every year with 85 percent of patients dying within five years of diagnosis.

The MRC brings together a critical mass of scientists and clinicians to share tools, ideas and expertise with the goal of developing effective new therapies to lessen the enormous burden of suffering and death caused by this disease.

“We are extremely pleased to have Donaldson on board in an advisory role,” said Meenhard Herlyn, D.V.M., D.Sc., Wistar professor and director of the MRC. “He has always been a great advocate for improvements in cancer education and greater increases in melanoma research funding.”

Donaldson, a 45-year veteran of the ABC News Network, has also served two appointments as ABC’s chief White House correspondent, covering the Carter, Reagan and Clinton administrations. Today, Donaldson occasionally appears as a panelist on ABC’s “This Week” and participates in a weekly roundup of ABC News Radio affiliate shows. He also sits on the board of the advocacy group Research!America, an organization promoting research into cancer treatment and prevention.

In 2004, Donaldson received The Wistar Institute’s first President’s Award in recognition of his work championing the advancement of cancer research and treatments.