AIM at Melanoma announces the grand opening of the first branch of the International Melanoma Tissue Bank Consortium (IMTBC) at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), Hillman Cancer Center. The Pittsburgh site is one of six global locations of the consortium. These six institutions and their researchers will collect a critical mass of fresh-frozen primary tumor tissue for collaborative research, with a goal of 500 samples collected in the next two years. A fresh-frozen primary tissue bank – fully annotated and collaborative – has never been achieved before in melanoma and it has taken more than a decade of dedicated work to accomplish. The IMTBC is a global first because of the following combination of factors:
• It is a consortium – the six institutions are sharing data and tissue samples with each other
• It is collaborative – tissue samples and data will be available for researchers around the world to apply to study
• The tissue will be fresh-frozen – RNA is preserved, unlike in the standard formalin fixed, paraffin embedded process
• The tumors are primary – not metastasized
• There will be a critical mass – a goal of 500 in the first two years and continued collection thereafter
• Full annotation will accompany each tissue – patient data, including full medical history (depersonalized) will be available for study along with the tissue
• Samples will accompany each tissue – blood and urine samples will be collected for each patient
“The primary tumor is the holy grail of resources for melanoma researchers,” says John M. Kirkwood, MD, usher professor of medicine, dermatology, and translational science and co-leader of the melanoma and skin cancer program at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. “We know the information we seek about melanoma is available in primary tumors, but researchers need a critical mass of fresh-frozen tissue and all the relevant patient data to understand it. We believe fresh-frozen primary tissue can help us discover the answers we seek, such as: whose melanomas will spread and become deadly; who will respond to immunotherapies; and, ultimately, how we can cure this disease.”
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center is one of six branches of the IMTBC – four in the United States and two in Australia. The remaining locations have approved their contracts to become fully functioning branches of the IMTBC and are awaiting only final details before they, too, will open and accelerate the collection of tissue.
“Fifteen years ago, many researchers told me that a collaborative fresh-frozen primary tissue bank would propel research, but they also told me it would be impossible to accomplish,” says Val Guild, the founder and president of AIM at Melanoma, who lost her 26-year-old daughter, Charlie, to the disease in 2003. “And, there were times over the years that I felt like giving up. But, I’m extremely proud to announce this grand opening of the UPMC branch of the International Melanoma Tissue Bank Consortium today, on what would have been my daughter Charlie’s 42nd birthday. I believe the IMTBC will help us get to the place where no family suffers as we did.”


Repêchage CEO and Founder, Lydia Sarfati, is a contributing author to the new “Milady’s Standard Esthetics: Fundamentals, Twelfth Edition” available at the end of this month. The textbook was first published in 1978 and, today, is the most widely used aesthetics textbook in the world. Sarfati contributed three main chapters on the treatment room, performing core facial treatments, and facial massage technique, working closely with the Cengage editors to create new content, as well as expand on the existing curriculum. In addition, for this new edition, Sarfati wrote a memoriam for Milady founder, Dr. Joel Gerson.
“Proper education is essential for our field and I am honored to be a contributing author to the Milady’s Standard Esthetics: Fundamentals, Twelfth Edition,” said Sarfati. “Milady Esthetics is the landmark text founded by my dear friend and aesthetics mentor, the late Joel Gerson. I know it was his mission to elevate the standards for aesthetics and I am proud to continue his work in the industry.”
Sarfati is a prolific writer and author of “Success at Your Fingertips: How to Succeed in the Skin Care Business” and “The Repêchage Book of Skincare Science & Protocols.” Sarfati is also a contributing editor for aesthetics magazines, including DERMASCOPE Magazine.


Massage Envy, the leading provider of therapeutic massage and skin care services collectively across its franchise network, announced it has formed a partnership with professional skin care brand Obagi to provide exclusive facial services and sell Obagi Medical products at its nearly 1,200 franchised locations nationwide.
Customizable facials were uniquely designed to use Obagi’s medical-grade skin care products, which incorporate powerful ingredients such as retinol and vitamin C.
“We are delighted to partner with Obagi, a trusted, professional brand that is adored by consumers and aestheticians,” said Joe Magnacca, Massage Envy franchising president and CEO. “We are proud to offer products from the Obagi Medical line, which has been carried in physicians’ offices for more than 30 years. This is a huge differentiator for the Massage Envy brand and will enable us to serve consumers with the best products and treatment protocols.”
“Massage Envy has designed proprietary facial treatments specifically using Obagi Medical products that really deliver on what consumers want – an enjoyable treatment that provides great results,” said Christy Bower, Massage Envy vice president of products and services. “That’s exactly what they get with this highly personalized, spa-like experience.”
The facials include an initial consultation with an expert aesthetician to help understand the client’s particular skin concerns and determine what goals the client wants to achieve, and how those concerns may be addressed during the service. Each aesthetician undergoes protocol-specific training to effectively deliver this particular service, as well as an Obagi Medical certification process.


Bioelements is excited to announce a new social media and content coordinator, Izzy Gut.
Gut comes to the Bioelements team with intensive expertise in hands-on creative direction and content production for print and digital platforms, including social media, copywriting, photography, video, merchandising, and community events.
A Chicago native, Gut has a background in magazine journalism and gender studies, with years of multimedia communications experience in both the non-profit and start-up sectors. She brings a sharp visual eye and maintains a high standard in her work, along with a passion for innovation and cohesive aesthetics. Her emphasis will be on enhancing the brand voice on both B2B and B2C channels through authentic storytelling and cultivating new content strategy opportunities.
“I am so genuinely thrilled to be joining the Bioelements family and sharing my talents with such a respected brand,” says Gut. “I feel so welcomed and empowered to be my best self both personally and professionally. I look forward to all the incredible initiatives Bioelements has planned and working together to bring them to life.”


Indie Beauty Media Group (IBMG) will host the third annual Indie Beauty Expo (IBE) Dallas on Wednesday, May 15 and Thursday, May 16. The two-day exposition offers buyers, press, influencers, investors, and shoppers an opportunity to discover and transact with a vibrant collection of over 70 independent beauty brands from around the world.
“The attendee to exhibitor ratio has been very favorable at the Dallas shows,” said co-founder Nader Naeymi-Rad. “Our team has worked incredibly hard forging strong relationships with Texas-area buyers and consumers. Furthermore, hosting the BeautyX Retail Summit in Dallas, which takes place the two days prior to IBE Dallas, enables many national and international buyers to participate in both events.”
Beauty lovers are invited to attend SHOP INDIE (May 15) to discover and buy the best and newest independent beauty products and mingle with brand founders and owners. TRADE INDIE (May 16) is open only to trade, press, and industry professionals. IBE Dallas continues to deliver on the brand’s promise of showcasing the widest selection of commercially-ready, independent brands to buyers, press, and influencers.
“We have many local brands and global brands that exhibit in Dallas, providing an interesting mix, from proprietary technology to fascinating founder stories and unique ingredients,” adds IBE Co-Founder Jillian Wright. “There is something here to pique everyone’s interest.”
For the first time at IBE, a large-scale device used for body contouring procedures will be showcased on the floor. Erchonia’s Zerona Z6 Laser is the first device in the world to receive FDA clearance for non-invasive fat loss and body contouring.
“We recently received over-the-counter clearance on the Zerona Z6 Fat Loss Laser, so the timing was perfect to bring this amazing technology to the spa industry where it can be utilized without a medical director,” said Joseph Zapolsky III, national sales manager for Erchonia Corporation. “IBE is the best place to meet and establish connections with high level industry professionals who need this product.”
IBE Dallas 2019 will be IBE’s 13th show since its inception in 2014, solidifying IBE’s reputation as the premier destination to discover cutting-edge, independently owned beauty brands.


Hempfield Botanicals, a Lancaster, Pennsylvania manufacturer of hemp-based cannabidiol (CBD) products, introduced its line of oral and face oils. Created in the company’s food-grade, cGMP facility, the new products are triple tested to ensure safety and have a level of purity, consistency, and quality that is above and beyond that of other products in the marketplace.
In creating its oral oils, Hempfield Botanicals works side-by-side with two licensed compounding pharmacists with expertise in the cannabis industry, John Spagnola, R. Ph. and Tzuo-Zen Lee. Each oil is blended in a base of easily digestible hemp seed oil and contains a compounded blend of individual terpenes to enhance effectiveness and create a specific response within the body.
“We are thrilled to introduce these two new product lines to customers who have been interested in CBD products but wary of all the hype out there from companies that don’t use sound product development and manufacturing practices,” shared the company’s owner, Heather Kreider. “Now, consumers can have the confidence that the CBD products they buy and use have a solid foundation of research and commitment to standards behind them.”


Southeastern Esthetics Institute has added even more elective options for students to take while they are training to become a licensed aesthetician. In addition to the phenomenal program Southeastern Esthetics Institute already has, they have started incorporating different, optional electives that students can take. The electives include a variety of six-hour makeup, microchanneling, eyelash extensions, radio frequency skin tightening classes, and more.
There is one class that students and spa professionals have the option to take that has a positive impact on them and those they treat. Southeastern Esthetics Institute has partnered with Oncology Spa Solutions to provide different, three-day trainings on treating those who have or have had cancer. It is dedicated to educating students to safely, compassionately, and confidently care for their clients while the are experiencing cancer and the side effects of treatments.
Southeastern Esthetics Institute prides itself on consistently challenging students to push their boundaries and expectations of themselves to make them better aestheticians. In the most recent oncology class, Jessica Cooley, oncology trainer, stated that, “Aestheticians, when properly trained, can prepare, protect, and soothe skin conditions that may arise from cancer and its many treatments. No client should ever be turned away due to a cancer diagnosis.” Jessi Waller, a student who took the course was enthralled with the program. “Everyone can relate on the topic of skin care because everyone is either dry, oily, combination, acne prone, and so forth; however, not everyone can relate on the topic of cancer. Without the knowledge that this amazing course gives you, aestheticians would not know how much you can help someone through our power of touch and care. The most significant part of the oncology aesthetics course was how easy we as aestheticians can modify our treatments in order to take care of clients who have gone through such a traumatic experience like a cancer diagnosis, chemo, and radiation therapy. Aestheticians are always taught that cancer is a contraindication and, even though that is true, with this education and certification, I now value that I don’t have to turn anyone away.”
Overall, Southeastern Esthetics Institute strives to create the best, most informed, talented aestheticians in the industry. In doing so, Southeastern Esthetics Institute hopes to send students into the professional world where they too can give back to the community around them, doing their very best in what they are trained in.


The Skin Cancer Foundation kicks off the third year of its mobile education and screening program, “Destination: Healthy Skin,” on Monday, May 13 in New York City, New York. The program is designed to save lives by educating the public about the importance of early detection for skin cancer, as well as effective sun protection for skin cancer prevention.
Inside the “Destination: Healthy Skin” RV, local volunteer dermatologists will provide free full-body skin cancer screenings in customized private exam rooms. Participants will receive information about skin cancer warning signs and proper sun protection. This year, for the first time, the foundation will offer participants the opportunity to have a high-technology facial image scan to examine sub-surface sun damage, utilizing the Canfield Reveal imager system. This is another opportunity to educate participants about the effects of cumulative sun damage and the importance of consistent sun protection.
With this program, the foundation seeks to highlight the need for sun safety, regardless of activity or location, by visiting communities that represent various lifestyles. “Destination: Healthy Skin” events will be held in beach communities, mountain towns, urban, suburban, and rural areas. The “Destination: Healthy Skin” RV will travel approximately 10,000 miles over three months, making its way around the country before returning to the east coast in August for the final event of the season in Greenwich, Connecticut. The foundation will host “Destination: Healthy Skin” two-day events in 18 cities.
“We’re excited to continue this beloved program as we work toward our goal of reducing the incidence and mortality of the world’s most common cancer,” says Skin Cancer Foundation President Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD. “This program is a free public health service that allows us to reach thousands of people in a short period of time. It is an optimal way to educate the public about skin cancer and reach those who may not have the time or means to visit a dermatologist in-office.”
In the first two years of the program, the foundation provided more than 2,000 free skin cancer screenings. Over 85 volunteer dermatologists identified more than 550 suspected skin cancers, while thousands of visitors learned about prevention and early detection.
The RV’s journey will be documented on the program website, the foundation’s Sun and Skin News blog, and social media channels so that people will be able to follow along, thus expanding the reach of the program beyond the communities visited.


Over 150 skin care and spa professionals from over 15 countries joined Repêchage at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, New York, for the launch of the next generation of clinically-proven, sustainably-harvested, seaweed skin care: the new Repêchage Vita Cura Gold Collection.
Guest speakers at the event also included Lynelle Lynch, founder and owner of Bellus Academy and president of Beauty Changes Lives, and Paul Dykstra, CEO of Cosmetologists Chicago and CIDESCO USA. Lynelle Lynch shared with attendees the way Beauty Changes Lives is affecting the professional beauty industry. Beauty Changes Lives is a nonprofit organization driven to make the beauty profession a first-choice career by empowering individuals with mentorship, inspiration, and scholarships. To help do that, the organization is guiding prospective students throughout their entire career path from being a student to a seasoned professional and business owner.
Paul Dykstra discussed CIDESCO International and CIDESCO USA, the world’s major international beauty therapy associations. CIDESCO is an internationally recognized organization. Its mission is to ensure the highest possible standard of excellence through uniting membership internationally, accrediting schools to teach a CIDESCO syllabus, promoting CIDESCO certifications in skin care and body care, and accrediting top salons and spas to guarantee the highest standards. Dykstra shared the recent advancements for CIDESCO USA, which includes launching programs this year at Bellus Academy. As Chairman of CIDESCO USA, Lydia Sarfati will work closely with the organization to positively impact the future of aesthetics education and professionalism in the United States.


Novopelle Medical Spa, a physician-supervised medical spa, has announced the opening of their brand new location in McKinney, Texas. Novopelle Medical Spa has been in business for more than 10 years and McKinney marks the company’s fifth location.
The new location offers a wide variety of services, including beauty spa services from chemical peels to injectables, as well as weight loss solutions. The spa offers a unique membership program known as Novo Pass, which allows members to choose between a variety of services each month and also grants them discounted services.
Alan Hernandez, co-founder said, “I’m excited to be opening our fifth location. We have taken our time to grow our brand to ensure we deliver premium products, utilizing the latest technology. We strive to make our services affordable, accessible, and unique.”
The Novopelle Medical Spa website features a blog with educational information about the latest trends in the beauty industry. Typically, many think of medical spas as being exclusive to women, but that is not the case. In fact, men are outspending women by 13% in medical spas. A recent survey by the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa) revealed that millennials account for 20% of medical spa clients and, as millennials enter their prime income-earning years, the numbers will increase. Brian Durocher reported that men are going to go from 10% of the marketplace to 30% in the next decade due to male millennials.
“At Novopelle we are passionate in helping men and women, young or old, look and feel their best,” said Hernandez.


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