Melanoma March 2016 is launched
2 February 2016
Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) officially launched the 2016 ‘Melanoma March’ initiative in Sydney today.
The launch event held at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth revealed plans for the new project that will receive funds from this year's Melanoma March campaign. Channel 7's Dr. Andrew Rochford hosted the event, with MIA's new CEO Carole Renouf helping to get the campaign off to a flying start. Melanoma patient and author of Dear Melanoma Emma Betts also spoke passionately about the importance of research.
Professor Graham Mann, Research Director at MIA, explained how the Melanoma March campaign provides critical funding for an ambitious new project that will ultimately transform the way patients are treated by shining a research light on melanoma care.
Participating melanoma centres around the country will link databases, for the first time bringing together the key information about the treatment of their patients on a national scale. At present melanoma is only recorded by national cancer registries at the time it is initially diagnosed. Data suitable for research about the patients’ treatment and progress is currently only collected in a few specialist centres. This project seeks to expand this substantially and facilitate the appropriate combination of this invaluable information to provided new insights into treatment responses, especially with the less common forms of melanoma where our aggregated national experience will be so informative.
The world-leading ‘Big Data for Melanoma’ project will feature an online platform designed to engage with melanoma care, wherever it takes place.
“With melanoma cases still rising, it’s critical we find ways to keep improving the quality of care. Part of this challenge is to understand the real-world situation of melanoma across the country. This sort of clinical research register has not been attempted before in melanoma. It’s ultimately about improving patient care and saving lives,” MIA’s Research Director Professor Graham Mann said.
During the launch, MIA also updated progress on world-first research into treatment for melanoma brain metastases funded by money raised during the 2014 Melanoma March.
The ground-breaking ‘ABC Trial’, supported by Melanoma and Skin Cancer Trials (MASC Trials), is comparing the use of various immunotherapies in patients with melanoma that has spread to their brain. Running since 2014, the study is showing promising early findings. Patients who once were given just months to live are now surviving longer than a year.
“It’s only early days, but so far we are seeing a tripling of life expectancy for some patients with melanoma that has spread to the brain. There are also added benefits because this kind of work is a world first. Everything we are using is unique – we’re developing new techniques to investigate and learn from the patients’ blood and tumour samples, together with much more advanced brain imaging, which is allowing us to stay at the forefront of research," MIA's Deputy Director Associate Professor Jonathan Stretch said.
Melanoma March events will be hosted in these 24 locations nationally from February 27–April 10, 2016:
QLD: Bribie Island, Brisbane, Cairns, Coolangatta, Townsville
SA: Adelaide, Port Lincoln
WA: Bunbury, Karratha, Perth CBD, Rockingham
NSW: Bathurst, Bonny Hills, Forster Tuncurry, Gosford, Manly, Picton, Wagga Wagga, Western Sydney, Wollongong
For more information about Melanoma March please visit: www.melanomamarch.org.au.
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