Some of the world's top oncologists, dermatologists and health care workers will gather in Pittsburgh Thursday, June 7 and Friday, June 8 to share information about the causes, development and treatment of melanoma, a disease that will be diagnosed in 51,400 Americans this year alone. The conference will be held at the Pittsburgh Hilton and Towers Gateway Center.

Chaired by John M. Kirkwood, MD, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute's (UPCI) Melanoma Center and vice chairman for clinical research, health sciences, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, ``Perspectives in Melanoma V'' is a comprehensive continuing medical education program for all health care professionals involved with or interested in melanoma.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer with the incidence increasing faster than any other cancer. Accounting for only four percent of all skin cancers, it causes 79 percent of skin cancer-related deaths. Malignant melanoma is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Americans between the ages of 25 and 30 years.

During the conference a number of prominent researchers will present information on the following topics:

Thursday, June 7
• Epidemiology and Early Detection of Melanoma and Precursors Presentation topics include sunscreens and their role in prevention of melanoma and epiluminescence and standardized digital assessment of nevi.
• Molecular Biology of Melanoma and New Targets for Intervention Presentation topics include apoptosis and resistance to cell death in melanoma, high-precision genomic analysis of progression in melanoma and the role of angiogenesis.
• Immunotherapy of Melanoma: Vaccine Antigens Defined Serologically Presentation topics include ganglioslide antigens and anti-idiotypic antibodies for adjuvant therapy of high risk melanoma.
• Immunotherapy of Melanoma: Vaccine Antigens Defined by T-Cell Response Presentation topics include peptide vaccine therapies and treating melanoma with heat shock proteins.

Friday, June 8
• Prognosis and Monitoring of Treatment Presentation topics include the molecular detection of residual disease, the use of melastatin as a new prognostic marker and the role of MHC Class I in vaccine trials.
• Current Clinical Investigations of the Status of Interferon
• Current Clinical Investigations of GM-CSF, Interleukin-2 and Chemobiotherapy
• Promising Approaches for Future Molecular Intervention Against Vascular and Immunologic Targets Presentation topics include CpG as an adjuvant for vaccines, targeting the EGF and VEGF receptors for intervention with ribosomes, tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and antisense gene therapy.

Health care professionals interested in attending the conference can register on-site.