Major award for world-leaders in melanoma research

Major award for world-leaders in melanoma research

9 November 2018

Melanoma Institute Australia’s (MIA) Co-Medical Directors have won the prestigious GSK Award for Research Excellence at Research Australia’s Health and Medical Research Awards.

Professor Georgina Long and Professor Richard Scolyer have been recognised as world leaders in melanoma research for their ground-breaking work that has changed the diagnosis and treatment landscape of melanoma world-wide, and tripled the life-expectancy of advanced melanoma patients.

Professor Long and Professor Scolyer believe that with the advancement of both immune- and targeted therapies (those treatments that utilise patients’ immune systems to fight cancer or alter the function of specific genes to arrest the growth of cancer) we are now realistically looking towards achieving zero deaths from melanoma within their lifetimes.

“As Australians, we’re proud of the success our country has had in leading the fight against melanoma but there’s still much more to do and discover. There’s a critical need to better understand why some melanomas develop so we can improve prevention and treatment,” said Professor Scolyer.

“While we do have these breakthrough therapies, there are still a group of patients who are resistant,” added Professor Long. “We’re starting to understand why patients develop resistance – and if we can tackle this by individualising and targeting therapy, we will impact not only melanoma but all cancers.”

Professor Long and Professor Scolyer said that winning the GSK Award for Research Excellence highlights the importance of recognising Australian successes in the research space, and is testament to the power of collaboration that MIA strives to emphasise in its work.

“Collaboration is vital for big research steps and gains. For us, this award recognises not only our team, but the collaborative efforts of our predecessors, colleagues, industry and patients,” said Professor Long. “We stand on the shoulders of others’ foresight and hard work, as well as the generosity of Australian patients whose participation in clinical trials is critical to scientific discovery.”

“It’s important that Australian science and research success is celebrated, and we are grateful to be a part of that story. We are honoured and humbled to have received this award as we, and our team, work hard to impact the lives of patients all over the world,” said Professor Scolyer.

Dr. Andrew Weekes, Medical Director of GSK, said; “The work of Professors Long and Scolyer is an outstanding example of how home-grown innovation and collaboration can impact the lives of patients around the world. We are honoured to recognise their achievements and support research which could underpin further discoveries and better outcomes for patients.”

The GSK Award for Research Excellence is one of the most prestigious awards available to the Australian medical research community. It has been awarded since 1980 to recognise outstanding achievements in medical research with potential importance to human health.

The GSK Award comes just a week after MIA’s Co-Medical Directors, and their fellow researchers Associate Professor Alex Menzies and Associate Professor Anne Cust, received top awards at the NSW Premier’s Awards for Outstanding Cancer Research.

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