Melanoma research reaches a milestone

Melanoma research reaches a milestone

21 March 2017

Melanoma research has reached a milestone with the 10,000th patient giving their permission for their blood and tissue samples to be used in the world’s largest melanoma biospecimen bank. 

Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) has been collecting samples from melanoma patients since 1999 and now has an incredible resource that is powering melanoma research here and around the globe. Together with patient records, the samples add enormous value to the clinical stories of our patients and drive discovery and translational research that will, in turn, provide answers to the clinical questions plaguing our doctors.

“When a patient first presents to MIA, we don't have the crystal ball to predict what their journey is going to be like,” says Biospecimen Bank Manager, Valerie Jakrot (pictured). “We now know that melanoma is not just one disease, and so we must look at the molecular level to understand the differences between each type.”

Because of the large number of samples collected, MIA and collaborators from around the world have access to a wide variety of different types of melanoma, including some of the rarer forms, growing our understanding of the disease. In addition, a large number of samples are needed to test and confirm hypotheses in research, and so the Biospecimen Bank’s magnitude is invaluable.

Personalised medicine

By using the samples to identify which genes drive the disease, researchers will gain a better understanding to improve patient outcomes. This is the basis of personalised medicine.

“By finding out which genes are involved in causing a patient’s melanoma, we will be able to better predict the course of the disease and identify which treatment will be most effective for the patient,” says Valerie. “This knowledge will change the management of patients from the very beginning, ensuring the best possible outcome is reached.”

Collaborations

Biospecimen Bank samples have also been used in a number of key research projects, including the Australian Melanoma Genome Project, which is mapping the entire genome of 500 melanomas. Our samples have contributed significantly to The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), a five year study of tumours from over 300 patients around the world. In addition, data has been made available to the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC), which is seeking to understand the genetic causes of 50 different cancer types.

Contributions making a difference

As the largest collection of melanoma blood and tissue samples in the world, the Biospecimen Bank would not have been established without significant resources from MIA. Being a specialised treatment centre, MIA has access to a large number of patients who generously consent to being part of this endeavour. Without the support of our patients, and donors who see the long-term potential of this project, the Biospecimen Bank simply wouldn’t exist.

Australasian Melanoma Conference AMC2021
19 Nov - 20 Nov 2021

Australasian Melanoma Conference AMC2021

The 2021 Australasian Melanoma Conference (AMC2021) will held in Sydney, Australia.

Australian researchers spearhead paradigm shift in melanoma treatment
20 Sep 2021

Australian researchers spearhead paradigm shift in melanoma treatment

Drug therapy set to become standard treatment in high-risk early stage patients to stop disease spread

Tags: melanoma
Melanoma March physical events in 2022
20 Sep 2021

Melanoma March physical events in 2022

We are excited to announce a return to our much-loved physical Melanoma March events in March 2022! 

Tags: melanoma
Melanoma Bike Bash 2021: What a ride!
20 Sep 2021

Melanoma Bike Bash 2021: What a ride!

Over two fun, yet challenging, days in September an intrepid group of riders and crew successfully completed the annual Melanoma Bike Bash in WA!

Tags: melanoma
Prof Georgina Long AO awarded inaugural Outstanding Female Researcher Medal from AAHMS
16 Sep 2021

Prof Georgina Long AO awarded inaugural Outstanding Female Researcher Medal from AAHMS

Prof Long AO has been recognised by Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences for her transformative work advancing melanoma treatments.

Tags: melanoma
MIA researchers awarded $7.2m in NHMRC grants for health research
15 Sep 2021

MIA researchers awarded $7.2m in NHMRC grants for health research

Three MIA researchers at University of Sydney received grants to further their important melanoma research.

Tags: melanoma
Amie St Clair Ball in Wagga postponed for a third time
06 Sep 2021

Amie St Clair Ball in Wagga postponed for a third time

COVID restrictions continue to impact fundraising for melanoma services in Riverina.

Honouring Ben's life by supporting the next generation of melanoma researchers
30 Aug 2021

Honouring Ben's life by supporting the next generation of melanoma researchers

Ben Garrow lost his life to melanoma. In his honour his family has established a scholarship to support a PhD student whose work focuses on saving lives from melanoma.

MIA's annual Research Retreat 2021
20 Aug 2021

MIA's annual Research Retreat 2021

More than 150 clinicians, researchers and MIA staff gathered online to share research highlights.

Understanding the needs of Stage III melanoma patients when choosing treatments.
28 Jul 2021

Understanding the needs of Stage III melanoma patients when choosing treatments.

Independent researchers at The University of Sydney are seeking patient feedback.

Community Fundraising Wrap Up Apr-June 2021
21 Jul 2021

Community Fundraising Wrap Up Apr-June 2021

A re-cap of the wonderful, and often very creative, community fundraising initiatives over the April to June quarter.

Tags: melanoma
Patients paying it forward
19 Jul 2021

Patients paying it forward

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. 

Tags: melanoma
Research boost to improve outcomes for melanoma patients
15 Jul 2021

Research boost to improve outcomes for melanoma patients

MIA researchers have recently been awarded two competitive funding grants, which will help facilitate their ground-breaking work in melanoma research.

Tags: melanoma
Amie St Clair 10th Annual Ball
25 Jun 2022

Amie St Clair 10th Annual Ball

Celebrate the 10th anniversary of Amie St Clair Melanoma at the Annual Ball in Wagga Wagga!   

Riverina Melanoma Ride
31 Mar - 07 Apr 2022

Riverina Melanoma Ride

Postponed to early 2022. Melanoma survivor Matt Kean is doing a 1000km bike ride around the Riverina 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!

Melanoma Clinical Trial opens in Wagga
23 Jun 2021

Melanoma Clinical Trial to open in Wagga

Riverina patients gain access to potentially life saving immunotherapy treatment close to home.

Tags: melanoma
Queen's Birthday Honour for Professor Richard Scolyer
13 Jun 2021

 Queen's Birthday Honour for Professor Richard Scolyer

MIA's Prof Scolyer has been appointed as an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia. 

Tags: melanoma
Sharing our research on the global stage at 2021 ASCO Annual Meeting
07 Jun 2021

Sharing our research on the global stage at 2021 ASCO Annual Meeting

Research from MIA was once again in the spotlight as findings were shared at the virtual ASCO21. 

Tags: melanoma
Australian researchers lead world in successful trial of new cancer treatment
03 Jun 2021

Australian researchers lead world in successful trial of new cancer treatment.

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.

Tags: melanoma
Thank you doesn't seem enough for our melanoma nurses.
28 May 2021

Thank you doesn't seem enough for our melanoma nurses.

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.

Tags: melanoma