Saving our next generation

Saving our next generation

By James Wilmott

18 November 2014

Melanoma is the most prevalent cancer in 20-34 year olds. And traditional treatments like, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, can cause longterm damage to growing bodies.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr James Wilmott is hoping to help by searching for early-detection genetic markers and treatment options that are specific to this age group.

“New drugs that target genetic mutations specific to a patient’s melanoma look extremely promising. But young patients have been largely overlooked in this kind of research. This study will address that gap by characterising all the gene mutations in blood and melanomas from young people with melanoma.”

Dr James Wilmott

The study is the first of its kind in the world. Data benefitting a range of research groups will be made available in Australia and abroad, bringing together pathologists, oncologists, surgeons, epidemiologists, computational biologists and researchers to focus on youth melanoma.

The goal is to identify the best genes for new drugs to target and uncover genetic mutations that predispose young patients to melanoma. It’s a unique and inventive way to detect melanoma in young people. And it will have the side benefit of helping them understand the benefits of sun safe behaviour and regular skin checks to reduce their risk of melanoma.

The data generated by the project will ensure that young melanoma patients are not left behind in innovations in personalised medicine, making a real difference to people in the prime of their lives.