Melanoma landmark study to develop personalised cancer treatment
26 August 2015
A leading team of scientists and doctors, working on several different continents have joined forces to discover the most deadly form of skin cancer – cutaneous melanoma – has four distinct subtypes.
Researchers from Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) played a major role in the global study, which it is hoped will lead to improved treatment known as ‘personalised medicine’ for advanced melanoma patients. Ninety-eight Australian patients contributed their DNA to the research.
MIA’s Research Director and Co-Director, Professors Graham Mann and Richard Scolyer, both played integral roles in the five year study, working on the analysis of samples from 331 patients from around the world. They also helped write and develop a paper which involved over 300 researchers from countries including the United States, Germany and Canada who contribute to ‘The Cancer Genome Atlas’ (TCGA) project.
Scientists are confident the discovery will lead them to being able to develop more precise and better targeted cancer treatment in the future.
Commenting on the results, MIA Research Director, Professor Graham Mann said: “This is a fantastic global effort and it’s wonderful to see that MIA patients here in Australia, have played such a significant role in helping us conduct this landmark study. We are very grateful to them.
“The results provide us with a framework so we can classify this disease in an extremely detailed way. We can then make more focused decisions on both targeted and immunotherapy treatments, ultimately giving our patients the best possible chance of beating advanced melanoma.”
The discovery of the subtypes, which are defined by the presence or absence of signature mutations on the genes, will not only help doctors develop more personalised care, they could also help researchers create predictive models to guide patient care.
The TCGA project overall was funded by the US National Institutes of Health and National Human Genome Research Institute, with MIA’s contribution supported by funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council. MIA clinicians, patients and donors continue to work together to establish and grow MIA’s tumour bank and database, which made this milestone in melanoma research possible.
“I had a complete response within about six months. All of my tumours disappeared."
MIA's Co-Medical Director, Professor Richard Scolyer, has achieved a Google Scholar h-index of 100.
We know what Melanoma March means to our community, so when we had to cancel our physical events, we created Melanoma March Virtual so that everyone across Australia could still connect to honour loved ones and support each other.
A must-read personal account by Garry Maddox in The Sydney Morning Herald of how immunotherapy is revolutionising melanoma treatment.
On Friday, a publication that lays out the steps needed to find out if a systematic screening program for melanoma would benefit all Australians was published in the Australia & New Zealand Journal of Public Health.
Melanoma March events have been cancelled. A Virtual March will be held on Sunday 29th March. Read this statement from MIA CEO Matthew Browne.
Thank you to the thousands of Aussies who bought ‘Game On Mole‘ t-shirts, took selfies, shared t-shirt pics on social media and started lifesaving conversations around sun safety and skin health.
Melanoma patients now have greater access to subsidised immunotherapy thanks to additional treatments today being listed on the PBS.
Brisbane couple Leon and Tamra Betts were, like thousands of others around Australia, on the couch watching MAFS when newlywed Natasha ran through her weekly beauty routine. When they heard the 26-year-old mention solarium use, they were shocked, and then saddened, prompting this open letter to all young Australians.
Professor Richard Scolyer, Co-Medical Director of Melanoma Institute Australia, will welcome international attendees this weekend to a sold-out, two-day course on ‘Pigmented Lesions and Other Hot Topics in Dermatopathology’.
It is time for a reality check on solariums.
They have no place in anyone’s beauty routine.
Throughout January our community created, hosted and participated in some amazing events, each of them helping us on our quest to reach zero deaths from melanoma.
Australian television presenter, interior designer and mother Kyly Clarke has been announced as the new Ambassador for Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) and its national awareness and fundraising campaign Melanoma March.
Melanoma Institute Australia has recently partnered with three other organisations to boost support for melanoma patients and their carers across Australia.
Melanoma patients and their families across Western Australia will benefit from strengthened and expanded services with the merging of melanomaWA and Melanoma Institute Australia.
Australian researchers have played a critical role in the discovery of a potential new test to predict which early stage melanoma patients are at high risk of their disease recurring and progressing.
We are extremely grateful for our community fundraisers, who, even in this difficult time, have given up their time and effort to fundraise so we can continue to work towards our goal of zero deaths from melanoma.
Melanoma patients are set to benefit from subsidised access to immunotherapy treatment for high risk early-stage and advanced-stage melanoma patients.
An informative article on how immunotherapy is revolutionising cancer treatment, written by Jill Margo and featured in the Australian Financial Review.
Melanoma patients and their families in the Riverina will benefit from strengthened and sustained melanoma services with the merger of the Amie St Clair Melanoma Trust and Melanoma Institute Australia.