SOURCE: MELA Sciences

MELA Sciences

May 02, 2011 06:00 ET

MELA Sciences Kicks off Melanoma Monday® and Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month® by Launching "Project Melanoma" Website Giving Voice to Melanoma Patients and Their Families

Project Also Designed to Increase Awareness of Early Melanoma Detection; Company to Ring NASDAQ Closing Bell Today

IRVINGTON, NY--(Marketwire - May 2, 2011) - MELA Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: MELA), in recognition of Melanoma Monday® and Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month®, May 2011, today went live with Project Melanoma (http://www.projectmelanoma.com), a new website and social media initiative designed to give a voice to those who have been impacted by melanoma and to motivate others in a call-to-action to speak up and demand better, more widespread emphasis on safe sun behaviors, early melanoma detection, education, and awareness.

"We're starting this important initiative to illustrate how many lives are and will be affected by melanoma from this day forward," said Joseph V. Gulfo, M.D., President and CEO of MELA Sciences. "We, as a company, have dedicated ourselves to early melanoma detection and want to raise awareness about the significant benefits that come with finding melanomas at their earliest most curable stage."

Every hour, one American dies from melanoma and approximately thirteen are diagnosed with melanoma -- and, increasingly, the victims are younger and younger. While melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, accounting for 75% of all skin cancer deaths, it's nearly 100% curable when detected early.

"This new website encourages survivors and families and friends whose loved ones have succumbed to this terrible disease to share their stories to inspire others to be more diligent about checking their own skin for atypical lesions and visiting their dermatologists for full-body skin exams," Dr. Gulfo continued. "We want early melanoma detection to be at the forefront of people's minds 365 days of the year, not just during the late spring and early summer months when the issue currently generates the most attention."

Anyone who has been impacted by melanoma is invited to submit his or her stories to the Project Melanoma website or via the Project Melanoma Facebook page located at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Project-Melanoma/211954135490589

For the third year in a row, MELA Sciences will visit the NASDAQ MarketSite in New York City's Times Square today to commemorate Melanoma Monday® and kick off Skin Cancer Awareness Month® to raise awareness around the disease.

In honor of the occasion, Elizabeth Tanzi M.D., an internationally-known dermatologist and melanoma survivor, will ring the NASDAQ closing bell with Dr. Gulfo. Other melanoma survivors, including Millie Monsen, will also be onsite to share their stories.

"As a melanoma survivor, I realize the frightening reality of this lethal disease," said Millie Monsen, who was diagnosed with mid-stage melanoma at age 34. "I also realize that no one should take their health for granted and that everyone must go to the dermatologist for a full-body skin exam. Educating the public about melanoma is vital in order to stop others from risking their lives the way I did."

To view the Closing Bell Ceremony online, visit:
http://www.nasdaq.com/about/marketsitetowervideo.asx

The live feed will begin at approximately 3:50 p.m. EDT.

MELA Sciences will also be sponsoring free skin screenings for NASDAQ staff and members of the media throughout the day. The screenings will be administered by board-certified dermatologists.

Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month®and Melanoma Monday®are registered trademarks of the American Academy of Dermatology. The American Academy of Dermatology does not endorse or recommend any commercial products or services.

About MELA Sciences, Inc:

MELA Sciences is a medical technology company focused on developing MelaFind®, a non-invasive and objective multi-spectral computer vision system intended to aid in the detection of early melanoma. MELA Sciences designed MelaFind® to assist in the evaluation of clinically atypical pigmented skin lesions, when a dermatologist chooses to obtain additional information before making a final decision to biopsy to rule out melanoma. MelaFind® acquires and displays multi-spectral (from blue to near infrared) and reconstructed RGB digital images of pigmented skin lesions and uses automatic image analysis and statistical pattern recognition to help identify lesions to be considered for biopsy to rule out melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Although no cure is currently available for advanced-stage melanoma, melanoma is virtually 100% curable if caught early.

MelaFind® Proposed Indications for Use:

MelaFind® is indicated for the evaluation of clinically atypical cutaneous pigmented lesions (those having one or more clinical or historical characteristics of melanoma, such as asymmetry, border irregularity, color variegation, diameter greater than 6 mm, evolving, patient concern, regression, and "ugly duckling"), when a dermatologist chooses to obtain additional information before making a final decision to biopsy to rule out melanoma. MelaFind® is a non-invasive and objective multi-spectral computer vision system designed as a tool to aid physicians in the detection of early (e.g., non-ulcerated, not bleeding, or less than 2.2 cm in diameter) melanoma.

MelaFind® is not a screening device and is not indicated for non-pigmented lesions, banal pigmented lesions, lesions that are clinically indentified as definite melanomas, or lesions on special anatomical sites (i.e., acral, mucosal, subungual).

Approval Status:

The MelaFind® Pre-Market Approval (PMA) application was filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June 2009, received positive FDA Advisory Panel recommendations in November 2010 and is currently under review at the FDA. On March 2, 2011, the Company filed an amendment to the MelaFind® pre-market approval (PMA) application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), limiting the indication for use to dermatologists. MELA Sciences cannot predict either the timing of the FDA's decision on the PMA application or the outcome. FDA approval is required prior to marketing MelaFind® in the United States.

For more information on MELA Sciences, visit www.melasciences.com.

Safe Harbor
This press release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements include but are not limited to our plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other statements that contain words such as "expects," "contemplates," "anticipates," "plans," "intends," "believes" and variations of such words or similar expressions that predict or indicate future events or trends, or that do not relate to historical matters. These statements are based on our current beliefs or expectations and are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and changes in circumstances, many of which are beyond our control. There can be no assurance that our beliefs or expectations will be achieved. Actual results may differ materially from our beliefs or expectations due to economic, business, competitive, market and regulatory factors.

Contact Information

  • For further information contact:

    For Investors:
    David Carey
    Lazar Partners, Ltd.
    646-871-8485

    For Media:
    Hollister Hovey
    Lazar Partners, Ltd.
    646-871-8485