Scientific breakthroughs in melanoma recognised
Cancer researcher Professor Georgina Long wins prestigious award for work that's tripled melanoma survival rates
Top scientists affiliated with RPA have been recognised with prestigious awards for ground-breaking melanoma research that's revolutionised cancer treatment and had a significant impact on patient survival rates across the globe.
Conjoint Medical Director of Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA), Professor Georgina Long, has been awarded the top prize at the 2018 New South Wales Premier's Awards for Outstanding Cancer Research.
Professor Long was named Outstanding Cancer Researcher of the Year.
"I am honoured to receive this award, which is recognition of the entire MIA team's efforts, particularly my long term research partnership with Professor Richard Scolyer," Professor Long said.
"We need to keep kicking goals to achieve zero deaths from melanoma. There's much achieved, but much still to do. I'm so proud of the entire team and my fellow award winners."
Professor Long has changed the face of melanoma treatment with her clinical trials tripling life expectancy for patients with advanced melanoma.
She is the first woman - and first Australian - to be elected President of the Society for Melanoma Research, which is based in the US. The Society is the world's largest association of melanoma researchers and scientists.
Melanoma is a form of cancer that develops in the skin's pigment cells. It is the third most common cancer in Australia. Australia and New Zealand have the highest incidence of melanoma in the world.
Statistics reveal about 14,000 people in Australia are diagnosed with melanoma each year and 1,800 are expected to die from it.
Professor Scolyer, Conjoint Medical Director at MIA, and Senior Staff Specialist in Tissue Pathology and Diagnostic Pathology at RPA, accepted the Professor Rob Sutherland Make a Difference Award.
The award recognises Professor Scolyer's lasting impact and sustained progress to cancer care and research practice.
Professor Scolyer is a leading melanoma pathologist and every year receives more than 2,000 cases for review and opinion from around the world.
"We won't slow down in our quest to reach zero deaths from melanoma," Professor Scolyer said.
Two other MIA researchers, Associate Professor Alex Menzies and Associate Professor Anne Cust, were also recognised for their research contributions at the Premier's Awards.
MIA CEO Matthew Browne said the awards were well-deserved recognition for the team.
"My particular congratulations go to Professor Long for taking out the prestigious Outstanding Cancer Researcher of the Year Award.
"This is testament to her research and global thought leadership which has set the world on the path towards advanced melanoma becoming a chronic disease rather than a terminal one.
"She was gracious in acknowledging the award was recognition of the whole team's efforts at MIA, and particularly her long research partnership with Professor Richard Scolyer.
"With the breakthroughs in melanoma treatment also set to revolutionise treatments for other cancers, Professor Long's legacy will potentially impact millions across the globe," he said.
MIA evolved from the RPA-based Sydney Melanoma Unit. The Institute's headquarters are now at the Poche Centre, a world-class melanoma treatment facility, at Wollstonecraft on Sydney's north shore.
Both Professor Long and Professor Scolyer played key roles at Sydney Local Health District's Innovation and Research Symposium held earlier this year.
They led the Clinical Trials Showcase, which included a presentation from an emerging researcher, a session about how to run a successful clinical trial and a panel discussion about the future of clinical trials.
For more information about MIA, see www.melanoma.org.au