Melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer arising from the abnormal growth of pigment-producing cells in the skin. Melanoma is an aggressive tumour that spreads quickly to other parts of the body and is very difficult to treat because it does not respond to radiation or chemotherapy. In recent years, researchers have turned to gene therapy as a new approach to fight cancer. This approach is based on the idea that cancer is caused by defective genes. The goal is to eliminate the cancer by inserting therapeutic genes into cancer cells using a vector (a vehicle for delivering genetic material to a cell). Within melanoma cells, the expression (activation) of the cell death gene PUMA is often reduced and expression of the cell growth and survival gene Akt3 is often inappropriately increased. Using viral vectors known as CRAds, Alison Karst is focusing on reversing this pattern of gene expression in order to induce melanoma cell death. CRAD-based gene therapy holds promise for eliminating cancer cells and more effectively treating melanoma.