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.

International collaboration the key to increasing survival
24 Oct 2018

International collaboration the key to increasing survival

"International collaboration remains the key to ensuring this pioneering research continues so we can increase survival rates for advanced melanoma patients and move us closer to achieving our goal of zero deaths from melanoma," says Professor Georgina Long, of the clinical trial results presented at ESMO 2018.

High-risk Stage III melanoma patients to benefit from Australia/Netherlands collaboration
23 Oct 2018

High-risk Stage III melanoma patients to benefit from Australia/Netherlands collaboration

Research that could change clinical practice for high-risk Stage III melanoma patients has been presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress in Munich.

Monthly dose of immunotherapy allows flexibility for patients undergoing treatment
11 Oct 2018

Monthly dose of immunotherapy allows flexibility for patients undergoing treatment

A larger, monthly dose of immunotherapy can give melanoma patients more freedom without sacrificing effectiveness.

Australia's best minds in melanoma research converge on Melbourne
08 Oct 2018

Australia's best minds in melanoma research converge on Melbourne

The Australasian Melanoma Conference, hosted by the Australasian Melanoma Conference Committee, was held in Melbourne on the weekend, with many of MIA's clinicians in attendance.

Nobel Prize for novel cancer therapies
04 Oct 2018

Nobel Prize for novel cancer therapies

The two men who discovered checkpoint inhibitors, the brakes of the immune system, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine on Monday, October 1.

World Health Organisation launches 4th edition of Classification of Skin Tumours
31 Aug 2018

World Health Organisation launches 4th edition of Classification of Skin Tumours

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is releasing the 4th edition of Classification of Skin Tumours.

Professor John Thompson awarded prestigious 2018 RPA Foundation Research Medal
31 Aug 2018

Professor John Thompson awarded prestigious 2018 RPA Foundation Research Medal

Former Executive Director of Melanoma Institute Australia Professor John Thompson awarded the prestigious 2018 RPA Foundation Research Medal.

Support PBS listing for pembrolizumab
23 Aug 2018

Support PBS listing for pembrolizumab

Clinicians, patients and other stakeholders in the cancer community are invited to make submissions in support of the PBS listing for pembrolizumab.

World Congress on Cancers of the Skin 2018
17 Aug 2018

World Congress on Cancers of the Skin 2018

The World Congress on Cancers of the Skin 2018 has featured many minds from MIA sharing their expertise and wealth of knowledge with over 1000 attendees from around the world.

Melanoma Institute Australia welcomes new CEO Matthew Browne
09 Aug 2018

Melanoma Institute Australia welcomes new CEO Matthew Browne

Melanoma Institute Australia is delighted to announce the appointment of Matthew Browne as Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Melanoma in Practice: Nurse Conference
26 Jul 2018

Melanoma in Practice: Nurse Conference

It was a full house this week at Melanoma Institute Australia thanks to our ‘Melanoma in Practice: Nurse Conference’. 

Reducing the risk of melanoma in young adults
19 Jul 2018

Reducing the risk of melanoma in young adults

A new study from The University of Sydney shows that sunscreen reduces melanoma risk by 40 per cent when used from a young age.

Melanoma Institute Australia launches free e-learning education portal
20 Jun 2018

Melanoma Institute Australia launches free e-learning education portal

Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) has launched a free e-learning portal to educate healthcare professionals about the latest advances in melanoma diagnosis and treatment.

David Day and a lifetime of missed moments
08 Jun 2018

David Day and a lifetime of missed moments

When David lost his life last year, he was 33, with three daughters under six.

Australian melanoma experts share latest breakthroughs with world's best oncologists
06 Jun 2018

Australian melanoma experts share latest breakthroughs with world's best oncologists

ASCO 2018 brings together the world's best in oncology from around the world. 

ASCO 2018 – the important role of clinical trials
06 Jun 2018

ASCO 2018 – the important role of clinical trials

Clinical trials are just that – trials in a clinical setting to evaluate the effectiveness or otherwise of individual and combination treatments.

MIA Scoops Awards at the International Academy of Pathology
04 Jun 2018

MIA Scoops Awards at the International Academy of Pathology

Melanoma Institute Australia scooped the award pool at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Academy of Pathology. 

Updated Clinical Guidelines for Melanoma
25 May 2018

Updated Clinical Guidelines for Melanoma

Melanoma patients across Australia will benefit from the release of updated clinical care guidelines.

Melanoma and Marital Status: A Study
11 May 2018

Melanoma and Marital Status: A Study

An American study has discovered a link between early detection and marital status in melanoma diagnosis. 

A weekend in Paris talking all things pathology...
02 May 2018

A weekend in Paris talking all things pathology...

An international course on melanoma pathology in Paris, France co-directed by Professor Richard Scolyer took place over the weekend.