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Professor John Thompson's decades of dedication honoured.

Melanoma expert wins RPA Medal

August 2018

Professor John Thompson's decades of dedication honoured.

Professor John Thompson's decades of dedication honoured.

He calls himself a "researchaholic" who caught the bug from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital’s esteemed medical leaders 50 years ago.

Now Professor John Thompson is among them as the winner of the prestigious 2018 RPA Foundation Research Medal for his outstanding contribution and dedication to melanoma treatment and research.

“I've won some medals in my time but this is undoubtably the high point,” he says. 

Only the second surgeon to take out the award, Professor Thompson was instrumental in the development, description and refinement of the isolated limb infusion technique for patients with advanced limb cancers. This technique has obviated the need for amputations in many of them.

His academic record is virtually unparalleled in the field with more than 700 publications including in the world's leading journals The New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, Lancet and Cell.

He has authored more than 60 book chapters and presented more than 500 lectures at scientific meetings throughout the world.

His research has received more than 12,000 citations. He was independently determined as the world’s leading melanoma expert in any field or discipline by both Expert Mapper and The Fame Report published by Medical Experts International for more than a decade.

Professor Thompson’s research findings have changed the clinical practice of medicine in the field of melanoma and in soft tissue sarcomas in Australia and throughout the world, directly resulting in improved care and outcome of thousands of patients.

He has developed and expanded the world's largest database of melanoma patients (at Melanoma Institute Australia) and, through his efforts, it has become a major international resource utilised by the American Joint Committee on Cancer and Union Internationale Cancer Committee to develop their respective melanoma cancer staging systems.

Professor Thompson developed, described, pioneered and refined the isolated limb infusion technique (a safer, less costly, equally effective and more widely available technique than that used previously) for the management of patients with advanced cancers involving the limbs which has improved the lives of many patients and obviated the need for amputations in many of them.

He has personally taught this technique to surgeons throughout the world including in Australia, the United States and Europe. It is now performed regularly in Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane, as well as at major North American comprehensive cancer centres such as the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and the Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina), as well as in the United Kingdom, Europe and Brazil.
For RPA’s Director of Research, Warwick Britton, Professor Thompson is a game changer.

"His approach has changed the paradigm of management of melanoma surgery. He is also an outstanding and committed teacher, generously and liberally sharing his experience with others.

“He has acted as a teacher and mentor to successive generations of medical students, doctors in training, researchers and senior clinicians amongst many others, and is the focus of a continuous stream of international melanoma experts and trainees visiting the Melanoma Institute Australia and his operating theatre,” Professor Britton said.

“We are proud to award him the RPA Foundation Medal for 2018 in recognition of his significant contribution to the field of melanoma research and treatment.”

The award was presented by Nine News health reporter Gabriella Rogers.

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