By Dr Yella Martin
Patient recruitment is now finished and experiments are underway…
Scientists at the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation hope to identify a new set of biomarkers which will be indicative of progression to metastatic melanoma. For their research, the scientists are looking at small RNA molecules in the blood (microRNAs) with the aim of developing a clinical test for patients.
By comparing the microRNAs in the blood of patients with different stages of melanoma, new biomarkers can be identified. With the help of the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund, 60 patients were recruited into this study and a small amount of their blood was analysed.
Dr. Yella Martin at the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation explains;
“We have been working together with Mr. Paul Banwell and his team at the Melanoma and Skin Cancer Unit at Queen Victoria Hospital and with Dr. Sarah Newbury at Brighton and Sussex Medical School on a new way to diagnose melanoma.
The Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund has been very generous in supporting our research, and this project would not be possible without their help. By using innovative molecular biology technologies, such as next-generation sequencing and microRNA quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, we have identified microRNAs that are similar and some that are different between Non-melanoma, Stage I and Stage III melanoma patient samples. We are very excited about this data and will now perform a more in-depth analysis to validate our findings.”
Mr. Trevor Eydmann, Research Assistant at the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation, has recently joined this project:
“The differences in the small RNA molecules in the blood of patients with different stages of melanoma that we have identified are an exciting prospect. We hope that this will allow us to develop a new diagnostic test which will have a positive impact on how early patients can be diagnoses and how quickly they can receive treatment.”
Check back on our blog for regular updates on this exciting work.