Celebrating 60 years of melanoma research to save lives
19 April 2017
Melanoma Institute Australia is proud to be celebrating an important milestone – the 60th anniversary of melanoma research and Australian-led global efforts to find a cure.
It was back in 1957 when Sydney Hospital recorded its first data on a melanoma patient. This patient record marked the beginning of what was to become the Melanoma Research Database (MRD), which is now the biggest database of its kind in the world. With more than 41,000 patient records, the MRD continues to play a vital role in underpinning the ground-breaking work of Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) and around the world.
“Melanoma used to be viewed as a disease with a dismal outlook for patients, but I am pleased to say that today things are much different,” said Professor Richard Scolyer, MIA’s Conjoint Medical Director. “The foresight of our colleagues at Sydney Hospital to start recording patient data back in 1957 set us on a path towards greater understanding of the disease, and we are now leading the world in advancing melanoma treatment and research.”
“Life expectancy for advanced melanoma patients has tripled in the last five years, and we are even seeing some patients who are recovering fully,” comments Professor Georgina Long, MIA’s Conjoint Medical Director. “However we still have a long way to go, with one Australian dying from melanoma every six hours.”
Critical to our story is the work of Professor Gerry Milton (pictured) of the Sydney Melanoma Unit (now Melanoma Institute Australia) who in 1968 was trying to better understand the disease. He recruited Dr Helen Shaw to collect and collate all the records of melanoma patients treated at Sydney Hospital over the previous decade. Always forward thinking, the Unit decided to embrace the “high technology” of the day and convert the entire patient catalogue to punch cards – and so the database was born. The detailed patient records included diagnosis, treatment and disease course over time.
The MRD database is now managed by a team including IT specialists and clinical data managers, dedicated to its refinement, preservation and cultivation. It serves as an invaluable resource to identify and extract specific sub-sets of information for research projects related to causes, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment outcomes in melanoma patients. The knowledge gained from these studies assists in the management of melanoma patients around the world.
“We celebrate this Diamond Anniversary with much gratitude to our professional predecessors for their pioneering work that was way ahead of its time. We also have immense appreciation for those thousands of melanoma patients who over the last 60 years have allowed their clinical records to be included in our research database which have enabled us to improve the lives of melanoma patients that have followed them,” Professor Scolyer said.
“They have quite literally given the gift of life to other melanoma patients, and will be the unsung heroes when we finally achieve our goal of ending melanoma.”
Using MIA's patient database, researchers have developed conditional survival estimates for Stage III melanoma patients to more accurately predict survival outcomes.
MIA is proud to be celebrating an important milestone – the 60th anniversary of melanoma research and Australian-led global efforts to find a cure.
Research achievements by MIA were celebrated at the annual Sydney Medical School recently.
In this Global Research Report we showcase advances in medical oncology, reveal unexpected pathology in acral and skin melanoma, and uncover biomarkers and new gene targets for melanoma.
Professor’s Long and Scolyer are well known in the academic community and beloved by their patients. But we wanted to get to know our new Conjoint Medical Directors a little more and hear their plans on making an impact on melanoma.
Wyong Rugby League Club Group has joined forces with Melanoma Institute Australia to help end melanoma for future generations.
Melanoma research has reached a milestone with the 10,000th patient giving their permission for their blood and tissue samples to be used in the world’s largest melanoma biospecimen bank.
MIA's researchers and clinicians are in Seattle, USA, today sharing their research findings at the prestigious Society of Surgical Oncology’s Annual Cancer Symposium.
Two of the world’s best minds in melanoma have taken over the academic and clinical leadership of Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA). Professor Georgina Long and Professor Richard Scolyer are the new Conjoint Medical Directors of MIA, and are shaping the future direction of melanoma research, treatment and education.
Meet Georgia, our Clinica Nurse Consultant who provides vital care and education for patients throughout their treatment.
Australia, we need to talk. This week’s dramatic episodes of Married At First Sight have highlighted a tragedy which is ripping Australian families apart. Yet no one is talking about it.
To celebrate International Women's Day 2017, MIA shares how some of the women who inspire the way we work every day, are showing their commitment to accelerate gender parity.
We welcome Mr Grant King to the position of Chairman of the Board of Melanoma Institute Australia, following the retirement of Mr Reg Richardson AM who led the organisation for 10 years.
Congratulations to PhD Student, Tuba Nur Gide who was awarded a NSW National Council of Women Australia Day Award for her PhD research work.
Melanoma Institute Australia, is joining forces with the Wollongong Wolves Football Club in the battle to reduce Australia’s melanoma rates.
MIA is proud to host our first conference specifically for nurses, 'Melanoma: Understanding Treatments and Implications for Nurses'.
A new research project will evaluate the benefits and economic implications of CT and PET/CT imaging in patients with asymptomatic Stage III melanoma.
Sunscreen tips for a skin smart summer with the help of Professor Pascale Guitera, Dermatologist Associate for Melanoma Institute Australia.
Join Melanoma Institute Australia for a great day of racing at Rosehill Gardens thanks to ASX Reuters Charity Foundation.
There is emerging evidence that patients who are more likely to respond to immunotherapy treatment have a greater diversity in their gut bacteria.