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.
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.”
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.
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.
Belmont High School at Lake Macquarie has been announced winner of the 2019 SunSafe Student Ambassador Program video competition.
It’s time again to say thank you to our amazing community fundraisers!
Videos of the sessions at the recent Patient Information Evening co-hosted by Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) and Melanoma Patients Australia (MPA) are now available for viewing.
MIA is well-represented in the poster sessions at the Society for Melanoma Research 2019 Congress in the USA, with four poster presentations being given by members of our translational research lab.