Home » Business News » 2012 » December » December 20, 2012

Petra Rietschel MD: Skin Cancer Project Banks on a Cure for Melanoma

December 20, 2012 - WHITE PLAINS, NY

The Herald Sun has reported the Melbourne Melanoma Project recently became one of the largest tissue banks in the world. It indicated 1,000 individuals have donated to date. The success the tissue bank has experienced collecting donations caught the attention of physician and medical researcher Petra Rietschel MD who works to help those diagnosed with skin cancer.

The article reports the tissue bank serves to help scientists and researchers uncover better treatment options for melanoma. Individuals diagnosed with melanoma have the opportunity to donate their cancerous tissues to the bank once it is removed from their bodies. According to the news report, the samples are then used in multiple different research projects aimed to understand the disease and develop more effective treatments. Tissues that are not donated are destroyed in accordance to medical waste regulations.

Petra Rietschel, MD explained more about the purpose of tissue banks and their impact on scientific medical research. She commented, "The tissue bank of the Melbourne Melanoma project is only one example of many tissue banks being assembled all over the world. We are just starting to learn about melanoma and know very little about its genetic and molecular makeup. These tissue banks will enable us answer questions in the future by running tests on large numbers of tumors as we are figuring out the questions to ask."

According to the article, over half of those who have offered donations are of fair complexion or had experienced sunburns. Fifty-two percent of donors reported being sunburnt at least once in the past, while eight percent had visited tanning salons. In regards to the fairer of individuals, nearly half had blue eyes and over half -- 55 percent -- had light colored hair ranging from blonde to light brown to red.

In the case of Jason Nielsen, donor number 1,000, the article reports he opted to donate his tissue in hopes it could further research to help others. In his interview, he indicated his children had fair complexions. Petra Rietschel, MD, encourages those who are interested in learning more about the tissue bank can visit the official website at


Petra Rietschel MD earned her Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Currently, Petra Rietschel, MD is a physician who serves multiple programs that span several medical centers, including Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Montefiore Einstein Cancer Center. Petra Rietschel, MD specializes in the research and treatment of melanoma, breast cancer, and sarcoma.


Comment on this story