Prof Richard Scolyer named Outstanding Cancer Researcher of the Year  

Prof Richard Scolyer named Outstanding Cancer Researcher of the Year  

27 November 2020

The ground-breaking work of MIA's Co-Medical Director Professor Richard Scolyer, one of the world’s leading cancer pathologists, has today been recognised with NSW’s highest accolade for cancer research at the 2020 NSW Premier’s Awards for Outstanding Cancer Research.  

The Outstanding Cancer Researcher of the Year Award is awarded to an individual researcher who has made an active, outstanding, sustained contribution to any field of cancer research in NSW; has a record of substantive and noteworthy publications; and has supported, developed and mentored cancer researchers.

Professor Scolyer was named Outstanding Cancer Researcher of the Year at this year’s awards, which were hosted online due to the impact of COVID-19, for his pioneering melanoma research which has made a worldwide difference to the assessment, management and survival of people with cancer.   

Chief Cancer Officer and CEO of the Cancer Institute NSW, Professor David Currow, said the body of work amassed by Professor Scolyer throughout his career has made a real difference to how clinicians and researchers think about melanoma.  

“Over the past 20 years, Professor Scolyer has made an extraordinary and significant contribution to the field of cancer medicine through pathology. He is the most published scientist in the world in the field of melanoma pathology, he leads a world-renowned translational research laboratory at the University of Sydney, and he is the co-lead of the world’s largest melanoma treatment facility, the Melanoma Institute of Australia,” Professor Currow said.   

“Sadly, melanoma is Australia’s national cancer, with a person diagnosed in NSW, on average, every six hours. This year, around 16,000 Australians will be diagnosed and around 1400 are expected to die from the disease.  

“Ten years ago, people diagnosed with advanced melanoma had their life expectancy measured in months. Now, Australian people with melanoma have a range of increasingly personalised treatment options. There are people alive today, in NSW and around the world, thanks to work done by Professor Scolyer and his amazing teams,” he said. 

Premier Gladys Berejiklian congratulated Professor Scolyer on his remarkable career. 

“I want to thank and congratulate Professor Scolyer for his ground-breaking research into melanoma, a cancer that affects the lives of so many Australians,” Ms Berejiklian said. 

Commenting on his award win, Prof Scolyer said,

“We have an amazing team of people doing world leading melanoma research and it’s a huge honour to be leading that team and to be recognised in this way. Pathologists have a unique role to play in translational research and are key members of multidisciplinary teams which are conducting research at a high level. Pathologists are the bridge between the patient and what goes on in the research laboratory, bringing a unique perspective in order to facilitate research.”

For two decades, Prof Scolyer has been at the forefront of virtually all major advances in melanoma which have revolutionised management worldwide and resulted in vast improvements in survival of melanoma patients.

“Every cancer patient ultimately has their cancer diagnosed by a pathologist; what we see down the microscope and include in our reports determines how a patient is managed. The thing about research is that there is an opportunity not only to benefit a single patient, but to make a difference to many thousands of patients that will be affected down the track. This is what makes research so important,” said Prof Scolyer.

The NSW Government, through the Cancer Institute NSW, has invested more than $240 million in cancer research since 2011. 

For a full list of winners of the 2020 NSW Premier’s Awards for Outstanding Cancer Research, visit: Cancer Premiers Research Awards 

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