Cancer Council awards Melanoma Institute Australia researchers funding for ground-breaking cancer research projects
19 March 2019
Almost $9 million of new funding was awarded to 13 ground-breaking cancer research projects at the 2019 Cancer Council NSW Research Awards. The chosen world-class research teams are leading the charge towards a cancer free future by investigating new ways to diagnose and treat the disease.
Melanoma Institute Australia researchers, including Co-Medical Directors Professor Georgina Long and Professor Richard Scolyer, Associate Professor Matteo Carlino and Dr James Wilmott, have been awarded Cancer Council NSW Funding of $425,095 over the 2019-2021 funding period. Dr Wilmott attended the Gala Dinner on Thursday, March 14 to formally accept the grant on behalf of Melanoma Institute Australia.
Melanoma of the skin is the fourth most common cancer in Australia, with over 15,000 people expected to be diagnosed with the disease in 2019. Unlike other cancers of the skin, melanoma can spread throughout the body if not treated early. Termed ‘metastatic melanoma’ this advanced form of the disease kills one Australian every 5 hours.
Once melanoma has spread, the most effective treatment is immunotherapy. These immunotherapies release the brakes on the immune system to attack tumour cells. However, more than 40% of metastatic melanoma patients are not cured with these therapies, more for the other cancers. Therefore doctors need to be able to identify who is or isn’t likely to have benefit from the treatment. This means precious time is lost before alternative treatments are offered to those patients for whom immunotherapy won’t be effective.
Dr Wilmott is part of a team of researchers focused on finding treatments for the more than 40% of patients that are not cured with our best current therapies. In another study funded by Cancer Council NSW early career fellowship, the team of oncologists, pathologists, scientists and statisticians identified a set of immune related genes that are critical for a melanoma patient’s response to immunotherapies. The team have initially used these genes to successfully predict the effectiveness of immunotherapy in 105 patients with advanced melanoma.
In this project, the team aim to translate this information from the laboratory into the clinics of their oncology team, giving them the opportunity to test their methods in over 400 patients. They hope to verify their test can accurately identify patients who will respond to standard immunotherapies and the patients for who should be offered alternative treatment options.
This study could lead to the introduction of a simple test in the earliest stages of treatment planning for patients who are diagnosed with advanced melanoma. This would provide critical information for decision-making and ensure patients are offered the treatments most likely to be effective against their cancer.
This was adapted from the article originally published on Cancer Council NSW.
The 2021 Australasian Melanoma Conference (AMC2021) will held in Sydney, Australia.
A re-cap of the wonderful, and often very creative, community fundraising initiatives over the April to June quarter.
Our patients who donate their tissue samples and records to our research are helping to make a difference to the lives of future melanoma patients.
MIA researchers have recently been awarded two competitive funding grants, which will help facilitate their ground-breaking work in melanoma research.
Melanoma survivor Matt Kean is doing a 1000km bike ride around the Riverina this October, to increase awareness of melanoma and raise funds for Amie St Clair Melanoma - MIA. There are many ways you can be part of this life-changing ride!
Celebrate the 10th anniversary of Amie St Clair Melanoma at the Annual Ball in Wagga Wagga!
Riverina patients gain access to potentially life saving immunotherapy treatment close to home.
MIA's Prof Scolyer has been appointed as an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia.
In a breakthrough which could extend to the treatment of other cancers, a new immune checkpoint inhibitor has proven effective in helping save the lives of advanced melanoma patients.
Whilst our research and clinical teams are trialling new treatments to save lives, it is our nurses who are on the front line providing care and support.
The easing of COVID restrictions has meant the return of community events, and we recognise the generous support of our community fundraisers.
Melanoma patients and their carers are being urged to participate in a ground-breaking survey which will shape the future of melanoma treatment, research, support and funding in Australia.
We have been buoyed by the wonderful support for our Melanoma March campaign, and our mission to cover Australia in footprints continues into April!
There was a wonderful feeling of community support amongst the melanoma patients, families and friends at the WA Melanoma Community Form.
The Price family has decided to share their story to inspire Australians to support research into new melanoma treatments.
New research has provided evidence in favour of a structured skin surveillance program for high-risk melanoma patients.
Melanoma research saved Bert's life at 101 and now he wants to give back.
A new MIA online risk calculator for clinicians can determine the likelihood of thin melanoma spreading.