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.”
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.
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.
Professor Georgina Long has today opened the Society for Melanoma Research 2019 Congress in Salt Lake City, Utah.
MIA’s Co-Medical Directors, Professor Georgina Long and Professor Richard Scolyer, have both been named Highly Cited Researchers, according to the Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers 2019 list.
Melanoma Patients Australia (MPA) and Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) have announced a new multi-year agreement to provide enhanced support services for melanoma patients nationally.
It is time again to say thank you to our incredible community fundraisers who are helping us get closer to our goal of zero deaths from melanoma.
MIA has presented promising data regarding progression-free survival rates for advanced melanoma patients at the ESMO 2019 Congress in Barcelona.
Another month has flown by and yet again we have a host of amazing community fundraisers who generously gave up their time to help us reach our goal of zero deaths from melanoma.
Comments in favour of giving patients with BRAF-positive melanoma access to first-line immunotherapy need to be submitted online prior to October 9, 2019.
Jay's Longest Melanoma March documentary is screening this Sunday 22 September at 1pm (AEST) on Channel 10, capturing behind the scenes of the 2000km walk, Adelaide to Sydney in 50 days. Uniting to end melanoma.
It’s been a month since we highlighted some of our incredibly generous community fundraisers. We thought we’d have a look back at August and put the spotlight on more of the wonderful people who give up their time to fundraise for MIA, so we can continue to edge closer to our goal of zero deaths from melanoma.
They are a formidable team - in work and in play
This week, Melanoma Institute Australia hosted the first of six