Melanoma is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia. It is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among young Australians.

Bioplatforms Australia has provided a long-term support for this major public health challenge. Our past involvements enabled the generation of biomolecular datasets characterising melanoma tumours which aided in the determination of the ‘driver’ mutations behind this disease and underpinned the development of further therapeutics.

Unfortunately, population-wide screening for melanoma is not economically viable, however, targeted screening of high-risk individuals presents a promising solution. Dr Aideen McInerney-Leo, from the Dermatology Research Centre at the UQ Diamantina Institute, has recently received a NHMRC grant to develop personalised melanoma risk scores. This project, in collaboration with the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Monash University, and The University of Sydney, aims to enhance early detection and improve patient outcomes. Bioplatforms is proud to partner in this ground-breaking research which directly aligns with our past programs focussed on melanoma. This research builds on the efforts to integrate genomics into early detection and personalised care strategies with the potential to transform melanoma screening and treatment in Australia.

This project leverages the Australian Cancer Research Foundation Flagship Centre program, involving 10,000 Australians who will undergo total body imaging and provide genomic samples.  The Australian Centre of Excellence in Melanoma Imaging & Diagnosis (ACEMID) is receiving cross-NCRIS collaborative support with our sister NCRIS capabilities NIF and ARDC joining us. The goal is to integrate genetic susceptibility and UV damage data to create comprehensive risk assessments for melanoma. Personalised risk scores will be returned to 4,000 individuals through online platforms, with subsequent evaluations of the psychological and behavioural impacts of the results.

The 2022 Australian Skin and Skin Cancer Summit emphasised the need for collaboration with industry partners and clinical laboratories as the key to the successful implementation of such risk scores in clinical settings. If successful, this approach could lead to an economically sustainable and effective population-wide screening program for melanoma in Australia, improving prevention, earlier detection, and reducing the overall burden of the disease.

This pioneering research represents a significant stride towards personalised healthcare, crucial in the fight against melanoma, ensuring better health and longevity for all Australians.

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