For over 12 years, the Purple Promise Foundation to End Melanoma has supported melanoma prevention and treatment at Atrium Health Levine Cancer, through donations to the Carolinas Melanoma & Immunotherapy Fund. Now, a $100,000 grant – the organization’s largest to date – could offer new hope to patients battling the disease.

Melanoma accounts for approximately 2% of all skin cancers yet is responsible for a large majority of skin cancer deaths. Levine Cancer’s team of nationally recognized oncologists offers the latest technologies, research, and treatments, including immunotherapy, which has quickly become the cornerstone of advanced-stage melanoma treatment. Immunotherapy uses an individual’s own immune system to fight cancer, allowing researchers to create personalized therapies to better target the disease.

With a two-year grant from the Purple Promise Foundation, Levine Cancer will study ways to redirect immunotherapy in patients with recurring melanoma. This innovative research study will be led by David Foureau, PhD, Jennifer Atlas, MD, and Asim Amin, MD, PhD, at Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte, NC. The research will be performed in collaboration with the Levine Cancer Institute Cancer Genomic Laboratory led by Dr. Nury Steuerwald, PhD, and the bioinformatic group at Wake Forest Cancer Center led by Wei Zhang, PhD.

The study will evaluate the factors impacting the long-term outcomes after immunotherapy discontinuation. To do so, Levine Cancer’s research team will explore how changes within the tumor itself (upon disease recurrence) and the body’s immune defense may determine recapture of response to immunotherapy.

“In only a decade, immunotherapy research has fundamentally changed the outlook of late-stage melanoma,” said David M. Foureau, the inaugural Gayle J. and Charles C. Tallardy III Foundation Distinguished Chair in Clinical Research, associate professor of medicine, and research group director at Levine Cancer Institute. “Our community has played a significant role in this. We are grateful to the Purple Promise Foundation to End Melanoma for the generous donation and continued support of our melanoma immunotherapy research program, which will help advance our understanding of this promising therapy.”

For the Purple Promise Foundation to End Melanoma’s president, David Hodgkins, and his wife, Donna, supporting melanoma research is deeply personal, as their daughter, Jessica Dovi, passed away from the disease in 2008. “We promised her we were going to do this,” said David. “Levine Cancer Institute is doing great things in melanoma treatment and research. It was an emotional thing for us because we know Jessica is watching.”

To support the Carolinas Melanoma & Immunotherapy Fund at Atrium Health Levine Cancer, visit