Celebrating 60 years of melanoma research to save lives

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.”

A message to all Australians from melanoma patient Stuart Taylor
16 Dec 2020

A message to all Australians from melanoma patient Stuart Taylor

Stuart has advanced melanoma which is not responding to treatment. He has shared his story on ABC's 7:30 in the hope that others can escape the same fate. 

Tags: melanoma
Olivia Vivian nominates MIA as Charity Partner on Channel 9's Celebrity Apprentice.
02 Dec 2020

Olivia Vivian nominates MIA as Charity Partner on Channel 9's Celebrity Apprentice.

A Ninja Warrior legend and Olympic gymnast, Olivia knows first hand the devastating impact of melanoma.

Tags: melanoma
It's 'Game On Mole' this summer!
01 Dec 2020

It's 'Game On Mole' this summer!

All Australians are urged to join the fight against melanoma this summer. 

Tags: melanoma
Prof Richard Scolyer named Outstanding Cancer Researcher of the Year  
27 Nov 2020

Prof Richard Scolyer named Outstanding Cancer Researcher of the Year  

The ground-breaking work of MIA's Co-Medical Director Prof Richard Scolyer has been recognised with NSW’s highest accolade for cancer research. 

Tags: melanoma
Dr James Wilmott wins 2020 Wildfire Highly Cited Publication Award
24 Nov 2020

Dr James Wilmott wins 2020 Wildfire Highly Cited Publication Award

A landmark study led by MIA's Dr Willmott is making a difference to melanoma treatment around the globe.

Tags: melanoma
MIA researchers feature on prestigious Highly Cited Researchers 2020 List
18 Nov 2020

MIA researchers feature on prestigious Highly Cited Researchers 2020 List

The highly anticipated annual list is the “who’s who” of the scientific elite from across the globe.

Tags: melanoma
Game On Mole is back this summer!
13 Nov 2020

Game On Mole is back this summer!

The uniquely Aussie awareness campaign ‘Game On Mole’ is back for its second year – with a new look but same important message.

Tags: melanoma
RCPA recognition for Professor Richard Scolyer.
12 Nov 2020

RCPA recognition for Professor Richard Scolyer.

Professor Richard Scolyer receives The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia Distinguished Fellow Award.

Tags: melanoma
Professor Georgina Long hands on baton of SMR Presidency
31 Oct 2020

Professor Georgina Long hands on baton of SMR Presidency

Professor Long cites as a highlight of her 2-year Presidency, the phenomenal research output by SMR members who have continued to lead the cancer field despite the impact of COVID-19.

Tags: melanoma
City2Surf 2020
11 Sep 2020

City2Surf 2020

Join in the fun of the virtual event, and together we can run over melanoma!

Tags: melanoma
Top melanoma experts from MIA
10 Sep 2020

Top melanoma experts at MIA

Melanoma Institute Australia features prominently in the latest ‘Expertise in Melanoma’ world rankings, released by Expertscape.

Tags: melanoma
Top melanoma experts from MIA
10 Sep 2020

Top melanoma experts from MIA

Melanoma Institute Australia features prominently in the latest ‘Expertise in Melanoma’ world rankings, released by Expertscape.

Tags: melanoma
Melanoma Supportive Care Needs research study. 
03 Sep 2020

Melanoma Supportive Care Needs research study. 

Participate in our online survey and help us understand the support needs of melanoma patients and carers.

Tags: melanoma
New data reveals long-term benefit of adjuvant therapy for Stage III melanoma.
03 Sep 2020

Research reveals long-term benefit of adjuvant therapy for Stage III melanoma

Updated results published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Tags: melanoma
New data reveals long-term benefit of adjuvant therapy for Stage III melanoma.
03 Sep 2020

New data reveals long-term benefit of adjuvant therapy for Stage III melanoma.

Updated results published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Tags: melanoma
New online melanoma risk calculators critical to saving lives
28 Aug 2020

New online melanoma risk calculators critical to saving lives

Clinicians and their patients now have access to three online risk calculators developed by researchers at Melanoma Institute Australia.

Tags: melanoma
Professor Richard Scolyer receives University of Sydney Alumni Award.
24 Aug 2020

Professor Richard Scolyer receives University of Sydney Alumni Award.

MIA's Co-Medical Director Professor Richard Scolyer has received The University of Sydney Alumni Award for International Achievement.

Tags: melanoma
Uniting together despite the distance
21 Aug 2020

Uniting together despite the distance

More than 120 MIA clinicians, researchers and staff came together online to share research highlights.

Tags: melanoma
Professor Richard Scolyer recognised in The Pathologist's 2020 Power List.
03 Aug 2020

Professor Richard Scolyer recognised in The Pathologist's 2020 Power List.

For the 2nd consecutive year, MIA's Co-Medical Director Professor Richard Scolyer has been selected in the top 100 best, brightest, and most powerful advocates of pathology by The Pathologist.

Tags: melanoma
Important Update: Masks required at Poche Centre
24 Jul 2020

Important Update: Masks required at Poche Centre

As of Monday 27th July all patients and carers/family members coming into The Poche Centre will be required to bring their own mask. 

Tags: melanoma