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ECU team awarded funding for cancer research

Thursday, 22 January 2009


Melanoma is the most common form of cancer in young Australians, and a team of researchers at Edith Cowan University (ECU) is undertaking new research to prevent secondary tumours caused by melanomas.

The project, led by Associate Professor Melanie Ziman, has been funded through a $70,000 research grant from the Cancer Council of WA.

Professor Ziman’s team have recently developed a blood test to detect when melanoma cells migrate into the blood stream.

The blood test has the potential to save thousands of lives through early detection.

The current research will determine what makes melanoma cells circulating in the blood switch to dangerous metastatic cells which can cause secondary tumours.

Professor Ziman says that the research findings will assist in treating aggressive melanomas.

“By analysing the genetics of these dangerous cells, it is hoped that we can reduce the prevalence of secondary tumours caused by melanomas,” she said.

While research into melanoma and skin cancer is breaking new ground, Professor Ziman says that prevention and early detection remains the best way to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

“Every year over 430,000 Australians are diagnosed with skin cancer,”

“It’s really important to protect yourself by covering up in the sun, wearing 30+ sunscreen and a hat, and try to stay in the shade as much as possible,” she said.

ECU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kerry Cox, said ECU is committed to high-impact research that makes a difference.

“Associate Professor Ziman’s research is a perfect example of how the work being undertaken at ECU provides real, tangible benefits to the wider community,” he said.

Professor Ziman is Associate Professor in Human Biology at ECU’s School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Sciences.

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