Professor Georgina Long makes history as the first woman and first Australian to lead the Society for Melanoma Research

Professor Georgina Long makes history as the first woman and first Australian to lead the Society for Melanoma Research

26 October 2018

In a double world-first, Co-Medical Director of Melanoma Institute Australia, Professor Georgina Long, is the first woman and the first Australian to be President of the prestigious Society for Melanoma Research (SMR).

Professor Long has been inducted as SMR President at the 15th International Congress of the Society for Melanoma Research in Manchester, England.

Her election as President is testament to her international standing as one of the world’ pre-eminent melanoma clinicians and researchers, with her ground-breaking clinical trials tripling life expectancy for some advanced melanoma patients, and essentially curing others.

‘It is a great honour to represent and lead this prestigious research society,’ Professor Long said. ‘Its members are leaders in the field of cancer research, and it was this group of researchers that lead the penicillin moment in cancer-therapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors.

‘I am excited and humbled to receive the baton from Professor Keith Flaherty who has served as President for the last two years.’

Fellow Co-Medical Director of Melanoma Institute Australia, Professor Richard Scolyer, said the history-making accolade is well deserved.

‘Professor Long has changed the face of melanoma treatment around the world and many thousands of people are alive today thanks to her intellect, determination and passion,’ Professor Scolyer said.

‘To be the first Australian and the first woman elected as SMR President shows Professor Long’s stellar international reputation. It is thanks to her research and global thought leadership that the world is now realistically looking towards advanced melanoma one day becoming a chronic disease rather than a terminal one.’

Founded in 2004, the US-based Society for Melanoma Research is the world’s largest association of melanoma researchers and scientists. Its multidisciplinary approach promotes international collaboration aimed at facilitating innovative solutions to the challenges faced by melanoma clinicians and researchers across the globe.

Only three years ago, Professor Long was the recipient of the Young Investigators Award at SMR, presented to an independent researcher in the early stages of their career who has surpassed all expectations in their contributions to melanoma research.

Professor Long leads the clinical trials team and laboratory at MIA, with a focus on targeted therapy and immune-oncology in melanoma. She is Principal Investigator on Phase I, II and III trials in adjuvant and metastatic melanoma, and is the Chief Investigator on research funded by the NHMRC that looks at tissue biomarker correlates of systemic therapy sensitivity and resistance.

Professor Long has authored over 200 publications in melanoma clinical and translational research, including in high-impact journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet. She has presented at hundreds of international conferences.

In addition to her joint medical leadership of Melanoma Institute Australia, Professor Long is Chair of Melanoma Medical Oncology and Translational Research at Royal North Shore Hospital, The University of Sydney. She is also the medical oncology lead for the Australian Melanoma Management Guidelines Committee, is on the editorial boards of several high-impact journals, and is a member of the Melanoma Expert Panel for AJCC Cancer Staging System 8th edition.

Amongst her numerous awards include the prestigious Sir Zelman Cowen Universities Fund Prize for Discovery in Medical Research in 2016, and last year the translational research team led by Professors Long and Scolyer received the award for Excellence in Translational Cancer Research at the NSW Premier’s Awards for Outstanding Cancer Research.

‘Professor Long’s election as President of arguably the world’s most prestigious association fostering international collaboration between leading melanoma researchers and clinicians is a proud moment for us all here at Melanoma Institute Australia,’ said Matthew Browne, CEO.

‘Hardly a week goes by without a melanoma patient or their family expressing their gratitude for Professor Long’s ground-breaking research and clinical trials which have afforded them or their loved ones valuable extra time, and in many cases, a new chance at life.

‘She is a true role model for all young Australians, particularly young women, who may be working towards a career in science and medicine,’ he said.

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