Around 36 Australians are diagnosed with Melanoma every day.
Australia has one of the highest rates of Melanoma in the world.
Approx one person dies every 5 hours from Melanoma in Australia.
An estimated 545 Australian women will die from melanoma THIS YEAR.
Tanning beds emit dangerous UV rays, increasing the risk of Melanoma.
Severe sunburn during childhood can DOUBLE your risk of Melanoma.
Melanoma is one of the most preventable forms of cancer.
An estimated 1230 Australian men will die from melanoma THIS YEAR.
Melanoma is the cancer most likely to affect 15-39 year olds.
Melanoma can arise in normal looking skin, a mole or freckle.
Melanoma, if detected/treated early, has a survival rate of nearly 100%.
There is no cure for melanoma that has spread throughout the body.
We have recently allocated research funds to a small Adelaide based group that have been working for many years on a cancer treatment approach where the immune system is ‘boosted’ and toxic effects are greatly reduced. This is being explored using more frequent but less potent treatments. This research has repeatedly shown that the immune system plays a crucial role in cancer growth, control or elimination.
Head of the research group Associate Professor Brendon Coventry reports:
"we have uncovered ‘immune cycles’ that suggest the timing of treatment may be critical in determining whether the cancer is controlled or permitted to grow. It appears that the successful treatment of cancer may depend on delivering treatment that is accurately timed to match fluctuations in a patients own individual immune 'cycle'.
Our work has shown remarkably similar results to that being carried out by Professor Michael Quinn in Melbourne and Professor Svetomir Markovic of the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, USA.
We understand that each patient’s own repeating ‘immune cycle’ appears to have small ‘windows’ (of about 12-24 hours), where treatment appears more effective in boosting the immune response against the tumour to reduce the growth of the cancer. Treatment during other times of the cycle appears to not be as effective.
We think this is not unlike the ‘menstrual cycle’, where there is typically a narrow ‘window’ for conception to occur, in each repeating cycle.
This approach is being tested in a vaccine trial for patients with Stage IV melanoma, along with a number of mouse model studies currently underway.
This research effort is in line with our Research Vision of developing simple low-cost treatments by "thinking outside the square", rather than pursuing highly complex technology, cures and treatments. You can follow the link to read more in detail in the reference article "A Matter of Time" which appeared in the May 2010 edition of Australasian Science.
For further information on the immune cycle approach: