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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
    The Honourable Dr Anthony Lynham

    Unlocking the Secrets of Melanoma

    Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
    The Honourable Dr Anthony Lynham

    Wednesday, January 06, 2016

    Unlocking the Secrets of Melanoma

    Melanoma patients could be saved unnecessary radiation treatment as a result of ground breaking research at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and the Translational Research Institute.

    Acting Health Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said radiation therapy has proven very effective for many types of cancer but the melanoma cells of some patients have a resistance to radiation treatment. 

    “The fight against skin cancer is entering a new phase with ground breaking research here in Queensland,” he said. 

    “Each person has a genetic predisposition to radiation therapy which can be tested and this is a good indication of how they will respond to the therapy.  

    “This research will identify early on whether radiation treatment will be effective in treating an individual’s melanoma by radiating the affected cells in a petri dish.

    “The main benefit for patients is that they will be spared unnecessary toxicity from radiation treatment if it proves to be ineffective.

    Dr Lynham said the research would also explore how to take melanoma cells that are resistant and make them sensitive to treatment.

    Lead researcher and Radiation Oncologist Professor Bryan Burmeister said each melanoma patient reacted differently to treatment and it was important to establish the best course way to fight the disease as early as possible.

    “Our challenge is to unlock the secrets of melanoma’s response to radiation so that we can only use it where we know it will be effective for that patient,” he said.

    “This will allow doctors to plan for more effective modes of treatment for those patients.”

    Mitchell resident Gordon Hughes said that taking the guess work out of radiation treatment was a priority for him in his melanoma journey.

    “Time will tell if the radiation treatment I’m receiving will work but it would be wonderful to know that what we are doing right now is the targeted solution for me.”

    Every year in Australia skin cancers account for around 80 per cent of all newly diagnosed cancers. Between 95 and 99 per cent of skin cancers are caused by exposure to the sun.


    [ENDS]                               6 January 2016


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