Einstein/Montefiore Department of Medicine

10/2/08: Curing Melanoma through Early Detection

Curing Melanoma through Early Detection: The Promise and the Challenges

Einstein-Montefiore Department of Medicine Grand Rounds

Thursday, October 2, 2008

8:00 AM
First Floor Lecture Hall, Forchheimer/AECOM

12:15 PM
Cherkasky Auditorium/MMC


Allan C. Halpern, MD, MSc
Chief, Dermatology Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC)
Professor of Dermatology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University

Dr. Allan Halpern is a board-certified internist and dermatologist with special expertise in skin cancer, especially melanoma. Much of his clinical career has focused on the early detection and management of melanoma in high-risk individuals. 

To improve the early detection of melanoma, Dr. Halpern has pioneered the use of whole-body photography to assist in the detection of changing moles in patients with dysplastic nevi (large, irregular colored or shaped moles). His group has established a fully computerized digital imaging system at MSKCC to monitor moles in patients who have dysplastic nevi or a personal history of melanoma. The program creates a baseline digital photographic record of the patient's moles. When the patient returns for follow-up appointments, new and changing moles can be identified, enabling subtle melanomas to be recognized at a stage when they are easily cured. The system also reduces the need to excise stable moles and moles erroneously perceived by the patient to have changed.

His research efforts are focused on epidemiologic (population-based) studies of risk factors for developing melanoma and strategies for the prevention and early detection of this disease. Part of this research is an ongoing study of the genetic and environmental factors that influence the development of moles in children and adolescents. Another exciting area of research involves the development of novel optical imaging techniques for the non-invasive diagnosis and management of skin cancer. These techniques include the use of automated computerized image analysis and non-invasive subsurface microscopy. These technologies are currently being developed in a research setting and are not yet available for clinical care.

In addition to his role as Chief of the Dermatology Service, Dr. Halpern is co-leader of MSKCC's Melanoma Disease Management Team, which incorporates the expertise of doctors in surgery, medical oncology, clinical immunology, dermatology, pathology, and radiation oncology to diagnose and treat melanoma.

Dr. Halpern received his MD from Einstein and was a house officer and chief resident, both in Medicine, at Montefiore. Thereafter, he obtained his dermatology training at University of Pennsylvania, where he stayed on the faculty until relocating to MSKCC in 1997.


After attending this activity, participants will be able to:

  1. Have knowledge of the indications from melanoma screening
  2. Be familiar with the visual paradigms and technical aids currently employed for diagnosis of melanoma
  3. Have awareness of exciting evolving technologies for melanoma detection/diagnosis


Albert Einstein College of Medicine designates this educational activity for a maximum of 1 credit towards the AMA Physician’s Recognition Award. Each physician should claim only those credits that he/she actually spent in the educational activity.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

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