The Melanoma Institute Australia clinical research database, now commonly referred to as the Melanoma Research Database (MRD), is central to the academic success of the Institute. This unique database was initiated in the mid 1960s by Professor Gerry Milton and Dr Helen Shaw of the University of Sydney. Maintained ever since and migrated through a series of IT systems, it has captured comprehensive clinical information and histopathology data for over 37,000 melanoma patients.
The MRD is an invaluable national and international resource used to identify and extract specific sub-sets of interest for particular clinical and research projects related to diagnosis, prognostic indicators and treatment outcomes in melanoma patients. Research studies are conducted within the Institute, as well as in collaboration with our affiliates and visiting international researchers. These studies cover a broad field of expertise including surgical and medical oncology, pathology, genetics, immunology, radiation therapy and diagnostic imaging. The knowledge gained from these studies assists in the management of melanoma patients around the world, via publication in professional journals and presentations at conferences and scientific meetings. Melanoma Institute Australia made a major contribution of data to the melanoma staging system revision by the American Joint Committee on Cancer in 2001 and again in 2007.
All patient information at Melanoma Institute Australia is treated confidentially. Data used for research purposes is in a de-indentified form, meaning individual patients cannot be identified.
The Institute has staff especially dedicated to the MRD - clinical data managers, database administrators and administrative assistants. It is their responsibility to ensure the accurate and complete collection of high quality data on all melanoma patients seen at the Institute and to make the large data sets coherent.
The introduction of the new MRD system gives us an opportunity to further expand its role and therefore its impact on clinical practice and research. The MRD provides a way in which relevant clinical information can be rapidly and accurately disseminated to clinicians and staff involved in caring for individual patients as well as the collection of essential data suitable for eventual analysis.