Young researchers receive boost to develop innovative treatment for melanoma

Young researchers receive boost to develop innovative treatment for melanoma

4 March 2021

Melanoma research has received a boost with two researchers from Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) and The University of Sydney awarded highly competitive fellowships from Cancer Institute NSW.

Dr Tuba Nur Gide and Dr Camelia Quek were each awarded an Early Career Fellowship to support their innovative research into melanoma treatment. The Fellowships are designed to encourage promising early career researchers who recently completed their PhD to choose cancer as their selected field of research endeavor.

“It is deeply rewarding to see these two talented young researchers receive these prestigious Fellowships,” said Prof Richard Scolyer, Co-Medical Director of MIA. “Their dedication and passion for developing more effective treatments for patients is inspiring and we are proud to have them as part of our team.”

While immunotherapy is proving effective in treating many advanced melanoma patients, others either don’t respond or develop resistance. These treatments can also cause significant, life-altering side-effects. Dr Nur Guide and Dr Quek are trying to identify which patients will respond to treatment and why, as this is essential to improving survival and quality of life for advanced melanoma patients around the world.

Prof Georgina Long AO, Co-Medical Director of MIA, is delighted that Dr Nur Guide and Dr Quek have received funding to pursue their research endeavors.

“Supporting medical research into Australia’s national cancer is vital to improving care for melanoma patients,” commented Prof Long. “With Australia at the forefront of global melanoma research efforts, it is exciting that our early career researchers will have the support they need to pioneer new treatments to improve the lives of melanoma patients.”

Personalised immunotherapy

There are currently no effective tests to determine which patients will respond to immunotherapy and which will need another treatment to stop their melanoma progressing. Dr Nur Gide’s research project is investigating this by assessing the accuracy of a panel of predictive tests with the aim of taking this out of the lab and into the everyday clinic setting.

“Once a patient enters a clinic, in real time we will be able to determine if they are likely to respond to treatment,” said Dr Nur Gide. “This will allow patients to avoid unnecessary toxicities and limit costs to patients and the healthcare system, as well as ultimately improving survival outcomes.”

The research project will help change the way cancer patients are treated and selected for clinical trials, by moving away from the one-size-fits-all approach and towards a precision approach to delivering effective immunotherapies on a personal basis.

“It is a great honour to have been awarded the CINSW Early Career Fellowship,” said Dr Nur Gide. “It will allow me to continue conducting research that will positively impact the lives of patients with advanced cancer and contribute to achieving our goal of zero deaths from melanoma.”

Understanding resistance to immunotherapy

Dr Camelia Quek’s research is trying to understand why some people with advanced melanoma become resistant to immunotherapy after they receive treatment. She is investigating the relatively new concept that a tumour and the microenvironment around it can evolve, causing resistance to immunotherapy. She will be using innovative computational biology methods to identify which genes and proteins involved in immune control are altered.

“Ultimately my research will provide significant benefits in developing innovative drug combination strategies and novel therapeutic targets to improve treatment for melanoma patients,” commented Dr Quek. “This will improve survival for patients, as well as improve their quality of life.”

“This fellowship will provide a fantastic opportunity for me to continue making discoveries that enable the development of innovative treatment strategies and biomarkers, ensuring the prolonged survival of Australians with cancer,” she said.

 

Australian researchers stopping melanoma in its tracks
11 Sep 2017

Australian researchers stopping melanoma in its tracks

Australian researchers have successfully trialled a combination of new treatments to prevent melanoma from spreading to distant organs.

Virus-antibody combo shows promise for treating advanced melanoma
08 Sep 2017

Virus-antibody combo shows promise for treating advanced melanoma

A new treatment that combines an antibody with a cancer-killing virus improves outcomes for patients with advanced melanoma, an international clinical trial has shown.

It's time to outlaw sunburn on reality TV shows - enough is enough
31 Jul 2017

It's time to outlaw sunburn on reality TV shows - enough is enough

It feels like groundhog day - another reality TV show, another batch of blatantly sunburnt contestants.

Identifying markers for optimal response
28 Jul 2017

Identifying markers for optimal response

Wouldn’t it be great if your doctor could know if you would respond to treatment before you even had it?

Global Melanoma Research Report - July
20 Jul 2017

Global Melanoma Research Report - July

In our latest research update we showcase research in survival estimates, uncover biomarkers, and reveal practice-changing research in surgery and medical oncology.

A day in the life of... Sarah Lane
14 Jul 2017

A day in the life of... Sarah Lane

Senior Clinical Trial Coordinators, like Sarah Lane, support melanoma patients throughout the clinical trial process. 

Differentiating moles from melanoma
14 Jul 2017

Differentiating moles from melanoma

Melanomas are often hard to differentiate from moles. But new technology is helping to improve accuracy of diagnosis.

Introducing SunSense Sunscreen
11 Jul 2017

Introducing SunSense Sunscreen

We are excited to announce that SunSense will proudly be an official supporter of Melanoma Institute Australia. SunSense is an Australian, family owned business. 

Identifying hidden melanoma
07 Jul 2017

Identifying hidden melanoma

New MIA research revealed dermoscopy features that can help detect desmoplastic melanoma.

60 Minutes' MIA Patient Feature Program
04 Jul 2017

60 Minutes' MIA Patient Feature Program

Five years ago Julie Randall was diagnosed with melanoma and was given months to live. The melanoma had spread throughout her body. The doctors said it was incurable and she’d be lucky if she survived the next nine months. Julie, a patient at Melanoma Institute Australia under Professor Georgina Long was placed on an experimental drug trial. To watch the entire program, visit 9now.com or click here

Training our future melanoma experts
22 Jun 2017

Training our future melanoma experts

Meet our latest Surgical Oncology Fellow, Eva Nagy, to find out more about life as a surgical oncologist, why she came to MIA and what she hopes to achieve.

Update from ASCO 2017
17 Jun 2017

Update from ASCO 2017

Melanoma research at ASCO this year focussed on the more precise use of current treatments to ensure optimal treatment for each patient.

Diagnosing melanoma of the mouth
16 Jun 2017

Diagnosing melanoma of the mouth

MIA recently demonstrated that reflectance confocal microscopy is a useful tool in the clinic to diagnose suspicious-looking lesions in the mouth.

New practice-changing research will reduce the need for major surgery in many melanoma patients
09 Jun 2017

New practice-changing research will reduce the need for major surgery in many melanoma patients

New research is likely to change the way melanoma is managed in many patients by reducing the need for major surgery and its associated morbidity and cost.

MIA researchers to share new findings at world's largest cancer conference
25 May 2017

MIA researchers to share new findings at world's largest cancer conference

Researchers from MIA will present their latest research findings to the world’s largest oncology conference in early June.

Australian researchers pioneer life-extending treatment for advanced melanoma patients with brain tumours
18 May 2017

Australian researchers pioneer life-extending treatment for advanced melanoma patients with brain tumours

Australian researchers are the first to demonstrate that patients with advanced melanoma which has spread to the brain can have increased life expectancy and possibly even beat the disease.

Melanoma March 2017 wraps up!
12 May 2017

Melanoma March 2017 wraps up!

Melanoma March 2017 - that's a wrap! Thank you to everyone that helped make it happen. 

Melanoma March 2017 helping kick start the Big Data for Melanoma national Research Project!
11 May 2017

Melanoma March 2017 helping kick start the Big Data for Melanoma national Research Project!

Thank you so much to all those who contributed in a variety of ways to Melanoma March 2017 in 17 different locations and more around the country! You have contributed to getting the Big Data for Melanoma national Research Project happening!

Whole genome sequencing finds unexpected genomic landscape in melanoma
10 May 2017

Whole genome sequencing finds unexpected genomic landscape in melanoma

By looking at the ‘dark matter’ of the genome, new research has found that genetic changes in acral and mucosal melanoma are completely different to mutations found in skin melanoma.

Shining a light on melanomas that aren't caused by the sun
04 May 2017

Shining a light on melanomas that aren't caused by the sun

‘Slip, slop, slap’ is synonymous with being Australian and playing it safe in the sun. These sun smart rules reduce our chances of getting melanoma of the skin. However, new research tells a different story for those affected by rarer forms of melanoma.