Research and Clinical Trials

As part of a National Cancer Institute-designated research and treatment center, the Melanoma / Skin Cancer Program conducts research at Dartmouth and in partnership with other national research organizations into the biology, causes, prevention, and treatment of melanoma.

The Program integrates information from our basic science laboratories, from epidemiology and prevention research, and from clinical research and trials, in an effort to understand—and one day eliminate melanoma.

Current research projects include:

  • Case-control study of melanoma to compare those with melanoma to those without, in order to understand why some people develop the disease while others do not
  • Community skin cancer prevention research, to develop new approaches to education and prevention
  • Melanoma biology, to understand how melanoma starts and grows
  • New approaches to treatment including:
    • Cytokine therapy, which activates the immune system and can help shrink metastatic melanoma in some patients
    • Metronomic therapy, which uses frequent, low-dose chemotherapy to attack the blood system that feeds the melanoma
    • Adoptive T-cell therapy, which transfuses lymphocytes to enhance immunity against melanoma
  • Tumor and blood bank, to identify markers of melanoma for use in the development of new therapies

Clinical trials

As the only Academic Medical Center in New Hampshire, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health System have many active trials that are enrolling patients across the system.

A clinical trial/study is research in which people can participate and is one of the final steps in the process to look for better ways to prevent, diagnose, or treat your condition. The purpose of a clinical trial/study is to research the effectiveness of a treatment, medication, experimental drug, or device. Many of the "standard treatments" that patients receive today were developed based on the results of previous clinical trials.

View the list of melanoma and skin clinical trials with which this cancer care program is currently involved. Consider joining a trial today, you could help change the future of medicine.

Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network

Norris Cotton Cancer Center is among 27 research institutions across North America that have been selected to be a part of the Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network (CITN), which is funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

As a new initiative in immunotherapy, the CITN will establish a network of top academic immunologists to conduct multicenter research on agents that boost patients’ own immune systems to fight their cancer.

The mission of the CITN is to select, design, and conduct early-phase clinical trials using agents with known and proven biologic function. Through trials with these agents, the CITN will gather the necessary data to determine and develop the most promising of these agents for treating patients with cancer.

By coordinating the efforts of academia, industry, and philanthropic foundations, the CITN hopes to speed the development of promising agents that have already been discovered but are not currently used to treat patients with cancer.

In choosing the institutions to participate in the CITN, the NCI evaluated the experience of the principal investigators and their institutions in immunotherapy clinical trials, and their ability to provide laboratory expertise in tumor immunology to support the trials.

Other institutions participating in the CITN include Baylor University, Dana Farber Cancer Center, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, University of California San Francisco, and others.