War on Melanoma: An Oregonian Solution for Cancer Control
Sancy Leachman, M.D., Ph.D., is a physician-scientist who chairs the Department of Dermatology at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and is the director of the Melanoma Research Program at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The inaugural recipient of the John D. Gray Endowed Chair in Melanoma Research and Chair of the Southwest Oncology Group Melanoma Prevention Working Group, she is a dermatologist using basic science research and state-of-the-art technology to combat skin cancer.
Her clinical interests include skin cancers, especially melanoma, pigmentary disorders that result from abnormalities of melanocytes such as vitiligo, and genetic disorders that involve the skin such as pachyonychia congenita, Cowden syndrome, and other cutaneous cancer syndromes. In addition to seeing patients with pigmentary disorders, she sees general dermatology patients at the Center for Health & Healing and the Lake Oswego dermatology clinics.
Leachman’s research examines the role of genetic predisposition and differential gene expression in the development of melanoma, with an emphasis on the familial melanoma syndrome. She is interested in prevention, early detection, and chemoprevention of melanoma, particularly in genetically predisposed melanoma families. Through her investigations, she is seeking to develop agents that will serve as diagnostic tools, prognostic indicators, or targeted agents for the prevention of melanoma.
Leachman is passionate about fighting the “War on Melanoma” and has led the effort in building one of the largest national melanoma patient registries in Oregon. In line with the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s focus on the early detection of cancer, Leachman and team have developed a mobile phone app, MoleMapper, which tracks moles and their change and growth over time. MoleMapper will help to gather data for melanoma research and, potentially, impact health outcomes in individuals at risk.
Prior to joining OHSU in 2013, Dr. Leachman was at the University of Utah, where she was director of the Melanoma and Cutaneous Oncology Program in the Huntsman Cancer Institute, a professor in the Department of Dermatology, and member of the Imaging, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics Program and the Cancer Control and Population Sciences Program.
Leachman was a key figure in developing the Melanoma and Cutaneous Oncology Program at Huntsman Cancer Institute. We are excited to have her talent in team building in Oregon to improve the care of patients in our community by bringing together researchers and physicians with an interest in melanoma and other skin cancers in order to bring knowledge and expertise from the laboratory into the clinical realm.
Leachman also worked on a DNA vaccination study to prevent and treat papillomavirus-induced squamous cell carcinoma at Yale University School of Medicine where she completed her residency training and research fellowship. Leachman was awarded the prestigious Doris Duke Clinical Scientist Development Award in 2000 and is currently an NIH R01- and Department of Defense-funded principle investigator.
When not working, Leachman spends time with her husband and two children in outdoor pursuits including hiking, skiing, backpacking and exploring the Pacific Northwest.