Australia at risk of falling behind USA and Europe in preventing deadly recurrence of Melanoma

Australia at risk of falling behind USA and Europe in preventing deadly recurrence of Melanoma

23 August 2019

Federal government urged to provide certainty of access to immunotherapy for high risk melanoma patients.

Melanoma Institute Australia is urging the federal government to undertake a timely and efficient review of an immunotherapy treatment effective in preventing the deadly spread of melanoma, and fast track its listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). 

Immunotherapy nivolumab was one of three treatments for resected Stage III metastatic melanoma submitted to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) for consideration for PBS listing. 

All three treatments are effective in preventing melanoma recurrence and its spread to other organs including the brain, lungs and liver. Immunotherapy nivolumab is effective for the majority of these high risk patients.

This afternoon the federal government announced nivolumab had been deferred for further consideration, while a targeted combination therapy (effective for less than half these patients) was approved and a third treatment was rejected.

Co-Medical Directors of Melanoma Institute Australia, Professor Georgina Long and Professor Richard Scolyer, said whilst they were very pleased to see one treatment listed, they were disappointed for the majority of high risk melanoma patients that the immunotherapy treatment was not.

‘It is a sad irony that Australia has the highest melanoma rates in the world, yet we risk falling behind the USA and many European countries where this immunotherapy preventing melanoma recurrence in the majority of these high risk patients is already available and subsidised,’ said Professor Georgina Long.

‘Australian patients would like certainty that they will be able to access affordable immunotherapy treatment which has proven successful in clinical trials and which many hundreds of patients have been forced to access on compassionate grounds or face costs of tens of thousands of dollars,’ she said. 

One Australian dies from melanoma every five hours. Melanoma Institute Australia is leading global efforts to find effective treatments for all melanoma patients, and eventually reach zero deaths from melanoma. 

‘It is frustrating, disheartening and disappointing for Australia to be leading the international melanoma research effort, yet our own government is lagging behind the rest of the world in ensuring high risk patients have subsidised access to this proven immunotherapy treatment,’ Professor Scolyer added. 

‘We urge the federal governent to fast track further consideration of this immunotherapy and remain hopeful it will eventually be listed on the PBS,’ he said.

Ready to run over melanoma at City2Surf 2019
08 Aug 2019

Ready to run over melanoma at City2Surf 2019

Lauren O'Brien tells us why she's running for a cause close to her heart

Community Fundraising July Wrap-Up
01 Aug 2019

Community Fundraising July Wrap-Up

MIA could not do what we do without the incredible support and effort of our community fundraisers. We’d like to highlight some of the wonderful events organised by our community in the month of July that are helping us move closer to our goal of zero deaths from melanoma.

Breast cancer drug may hold key to tackling most deadly type of melanoma
23 Jul 2019

Breast cancer drug may hold key to tackling most deadly type of melanoma

An international study, led by researchers from Melanoma Institute Australia, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and The University of Sydney as part of the Australian Melanoma Genome Project, has discovered that a drug traditionally used to treat a type of breast cancer may hold the key to treating an aggressive and deadly form of melanoma.

MIA takes centre stage at leading cancer conference
05 Jun 2019

MIA takes centre stage at leading cancer conference

Researchers from Melanoma Institute Australia took centre stage at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in Chicago. Results presented by MIA’s contingent have the potential to create better patient outcomes and change the way advanced melanoma is treated .

International Clinical Trials Day 2019
20 May 2019

International Clinical Trials Day 2019

Today is International Clinical Trials Day – a day to recognise and thank the amazing people who conduct, organise, and coordinate clinical trials.

Emma Betts' legacy will live on
17 May 2019

Emma Betts' legacy will live on

“I’m the age Emma was when she passed away. It almost feels unfair, that she has to not be here for me to be able to do this. But I will use this opportunity to push as hard as I can to reach our collective goal of zero deaths from melanoma.”

Support PBS listing for three adjuvant treatments of resected Stage III melanoma
13 May 2019

Support PBS listing for three adjuvant treatments of resected Stage III melanoma

As always, part of the PBAC process invites clinicians, patients and other stakeholders in the cancer community to make submissions in support of the PBS listing.

Support PBS listing for pembrolizumab
06 May 2019

Support PBS listing for pembrolizumab

As always, part of the PBAC process invites clinicians, patients and other stakeholders in the cancer community to make submissions in support of the PBS listing.

How are the Premier's Awards helping cancer researchers?
02 May 2019

How are the Premier's Awards helping cancer researchers?

MIA had four winners in the 2017 Premiers Awards. Find out how winning has influenced their work over the past year.

Cancer Council awards Melanoma Institute Australia researchers funding for ground-breaking cancer research projects
19 Mar 2019

Cancer Council awards Melanoma Institute Australia researchers funding for ground-breaking cancer research projects

Almost $9 million of new funding was awarded to 13 ground-breaking cancer research projects at the 2019 Cancer Council NSW Research Awards.

Making a difference to many
15 Mar 2019

Making a difference to many

Georgina V. Long is co-medical director of Melanoma Institute Australia and Chair of Melanoma Medical Oncology and Translational Research. She is the first woman president of the Society for Melanoma Research.

Aussie icon Sophie Monk calls on Australians to get behind Melanoma March
26 Feb 2019

Aussie icon Sophie Monk calls on Australians to get behind Melanoma March

Quintessential Aussie girl and media personality Sophie Monk has been announced as a National Ambassador for Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) and its national awareness and fundraising campaign, Melanoma March.

Melanoma breakthrough paves way for personalised treatment for all cancer patients
14 Feb 2019

Melanoma breakthrough paves way for personalised treatment for all cancer patients

Australian researchers have for the first time identified specific cells and receptors in the immune system which predict how a patient will respond to treatment with immunotherapies, potentially paving the way for the development of personalised therapy for all cancer patients.

Melanoma March announces 2019 Principal Partner
07 Feb 2019

Melanoma March announces 2019 Principal Partner

Melanoma March is thrilled to introduce Ricky as our official Principal Partner for 2019!

Swimming champion Cate Campbell spearheads national campaign to save lives from melanoma
05 Feb 2019

Swimming champion Cate Campbell spearheads national campaign to save lives from melanoma

World record holder, Olympian and Australian swimming champion Cate Campbell has been announced as National Ambassador for Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) and its national awareness and fundraising campaign, Melanoma March.

MIA experts collaborate on groundbreaking research
16 Jan 2019

MIA experts collaborate on groundbreaking research

MIA's expertise was essential to a recent Nature publication spearheaded by Perth’s Telethon Kids Institute and The University of Melbourne.

World-leading pathologist Associate Professor Michael Tetzlaff visits MIA
20 Dec 2018

World-leading pathologist Associate Professor Michael Tetzlaff visits MIA

MIA is delighted to be hosting the MD Anderson pathologist on his first ever trip to Australia.

Possible PBS listing for dabrafenib and trametinib
18 Dec 2018

Possible PBS listing for dabrafenib and trametinib

Clinicians, patients and other stakeholders in the cancer community are invited to make submissions in support of the PBS listing for dabrafenib and trametinib.

Arden Anglican School wins SunSafe Ambassador competition
13 Dec 2018

Arden Anglican School wins SunSafe Ambassador competition

Three students from Arden Anglican School in Epping have won Melanoma Institute Australia’s (MIA) inaugural SunSafe Student Ambassador Award.

DON'T CLOUD THE SUN-SAFE MESSAGE
08 Dec 2018

DON'T CLOUD THE SUN-SAFE MESSAGE

Mark Whittaker’s ‘Here comes the sun; Defending our summer rays’ (GW 24 Nov) clouds the sun-safe message – which could have disastrous consequences.