Printer icon

Press Release

October 30, 2008

Joyce Weidler, Managing Director
American Skin Association

American Skin Association Announces 2008 Abby S. and Howard P. Milstein Innovation Award for Melanoma/Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Research

New York, October 30 - American Skin Association (ASA) announced today the recipient of the inaugural Abby S. and Howard P. Milstein Innovation Award for Melanoma/Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Research. Boris C. Bastian, M.D., Professor in Residence, Dermatology, and Clinical Professor, Pathology, University of Southern California, San Francisco, will receive an award of $250,000 per year for each of three years for his research on the KIT signaling pathway as a therapeutic target in melanoma.

"Melanoma touches us all...It is a disease destined to increase as the numbers of sun-loving baby boomers age," related James G. Krueger, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Milstein Medical Research Program, Senior Attending Physician, D. Martin Carter Professor in Clinical Investigation, Laboratory of Investigative Dermatology, The Rockefeller University. "Chairman of ASA's board, Howard Milstein, and his wife, Abby, decided that dramatic action was needed - action to encourage research at the highest levels into the causes of melanoma and skin cancer. With this in mind, they have funded the Abby S. and Howard P. Milstein Innovation Award for Melanoma/Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Research with a gift of $2.25 million."

Selected by an anonymous committee to receive this first such award given by ASA to an established career investigator, Dr. Bastian was presented with the award at ASA's 10th Annual Gala in New York City's Rainbow Room. Dr. Bastian's history with ASA goes back to 2001 when he received his first award from ASA as a Research Scholar for his study of individualized excision margins for melanoma using molecular markers.

He told the packed ballroom that the initial grant he received from ASA was an extremely important start for his career as a physician scientist and possibly helped solidify his decision to remain in the U.S. and pursue his career.

"It provided pivotal bridge funding that I needed as a junior faculty member to collect preliminary data that helped me obtain, NCI-funded grants," Dr. Bastian related.

Abby S. and Howard P. Milstein Innovation Award for Melanoma/Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Research candidates are established leaders in the fields of cutaneous oncology and dermatology, who must spend at least 80% of their professional time in research, and should have a mid-level or higher career dedicated to the furtherance of knowledge concerning melanoma/skin cancer. Their innovative research must be focused on new discoveries in the basic and clinical sciences with current or potential impact on the understanding and treatment or prevention of melanoma/non-melanoma skin cancer.

American Skin Association plans to bestow the award on a total of three recipients - one in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Each awardee will receive a total of $750,000.


Founded by volunteers in 1987, American Skin Association (ASA) is dedicated to saving lives and alleviating human suffering caused by the full spectrum of skin disorders and cancer through research, education and prevention programs. ASA supports urgently needed research, expands public knowledge and understanding of skin's vital role in maintaining good health, and raises awareness about the often-devastating impact of skin conditions. ASA has sponsored the groundbreaking studies of 150 scientists, advancing research into the cause, diagnosis and treatment of skin disorders. ASA's award-winning skin health education program, The Wonders of Skin, has also provided vital lessons aimed at preventing skin disease and promoting early intervention to three million children in almost 2,000 schools across the U.S.