Searching to Conquer


Searching to Conquer is a project we began in 2006. Researcher Dr. Bernhard Wehrle-Haller in the Department of Cellular Physiology and Metabolism at the University of Geneva in Switzerland had already patented three mechanisms for affecting the cells that make up a large nevus, funded by a Swiss pharmaceutical company. Funding for this project ended unexpectedly, and Nevus Outreach was in the right place at the right time to pick up the slack. We were pleased to announce in May 2011, that we had secured the funding for another year.

Upon receipt of this news, Dr. Wehrle-Haller commented, “This is indeed great news for the continuation of our project, encouraging us to work even harder for the next years to come.” With appreciation to our most dedicated donors, The Morgan Family Foundation, Dr. Wehrle-Haller will continue studying the replication mechanism of the cells that make large congenital nevi.

Since 2006, Dr. Wehrle-Haller’s research has grown to involve collaborations with other labs in Switzerland, Germany, France, and Israel, with the short-term goals of testing various ways to control the replication of human melanocytes, and the long-term goal of developing a treatment for melanocytic nevi. Dr. Wehrle-Haller is making steady progress toward this goal.

Executive Director Mark Beckwith caught up with “Berni,” as all of us who attend the Nevus Conferences have come to know Dr. Wehrle-Haller, in Tübingen, Germany, in May 2011, for the Nevus Outreach-sponsored International Expert Meeting on Large Congenital Melanocytic Nevi and Neurocutaneous Melanocytosis. “Berni was full of stories about the [approved] trials of our compounds on live animals. In one case, they were applying the compounds to the ears of guinea pigs and were challenged to keep the application pads attached to their little ears. I’m glad to see we're making progress with live tissue.”

A summary of Searching to Conquer’s 2010 activities will be published soon. Keep an eye on this website for details.

Boy and father wearing their Nevus Outreach t-shirts