Melanoma is one of Australia’s most common cancers with over 13,000 new diagnoses per year. In one out of ten patients, the melanoma diagnosis comes too late, as the melanoma has already spread throughout the body, drastically diminishing the chances of survival. With more than 1,700 Australians dying every year from melanoma -one every 5 hours-, we urgently require a better understanding of how the melanoma spreads and why certain tumours respond to current treatment while others are resistant to treatment.
The ECU Melanoma Research Group’s primary focus is to develop blood tests to detect circulating melanoma cells, tumour DNA or other cancer biomarkers in the patient’s blood early in the disease process. This will not only allow clinicians to monitor patients for disease status and recommend an appropriate course of treatment at an early stage, but also inform them earlier of drug efficacy or drug resistance, allowing a better patient prognosis.