Mr Siva Kumar on the forthcoming 9th World Congress of Melanoma

Although incidence of melanoma is still rising at alarming rates, when it comes to treatment we are living in encouraging times. There has been a big surge in the number of medical and scientific discoveries in recent years, focusing on the prevention, diagnosis and management of this, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

It is no exaggeration to say that melanoma treatment is also probably the fastest changing oncological field at present. This is why, as a melanoma surgeon I am honoured and excited to attend the 9th World Congress of Melanoma in Australia this October.

My trip – kindly sponsored by the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund – will provide me with the chance to learn and keep conversant with the latest research and trends. It will create unparalleled opportunities to network, offering endless possibilities of partnering with other leading clinicians and scientists from around the world, to exchange knowledge, fresh thinking, expertise and new ideas.

Michelle Baker (CEO) with Siva Kumar (Medical Ambassador)

Having spent an enjoyable and successful year working with this highly proactive charity, raising awareness of melanoma in their ‘Watch your Back!’ campaign, I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences with my peers. It is proven that early detection of melanoma leads to better outcomes which is showcased by the fact that this impactful campaign is soon to launch in New Zealand.

When it comes to hot topics of discussion, the role of ‘sentinel node biopsy’ in the management of melanoma remains up there. As one of the leading members of the MASCU team at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, that has recently introduced SNB to SE England, I will be keen to critically evaluate the recent evidence presented at the Conference, to ensure that patients treated at QVH can benefit and are fully informed.

I have no doubt there are other groups and charities around the world that will have innovative methods to spread a similar message.  I hope to come back with lots of ideas that I can share with the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund, and work with to implement in future campaigns.

For further details on the Conference and how this can impact the local community, please watch out for my updates at


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By Professor Sarah Newbury – Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS)

Melanoma microRNA biomarker project
The overall aim of our study is to identify microRNA biomarkers from the circulating blood to detect recurrence in malignant melanoma. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs which are known to control cellular pathways through post-transcriptional control of gene expression.

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On a hot and sunny morning, the team from the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund set off to Bexhill-on -sea to attend Be Active 2017, a community event run by Active Rother. The charity was in attendance to promote its Watch Your Back! campaign, supported this year by over 180 garden centres and endorsed by 7 of the best known gardeners in the UK.

Three organisations working together to create impact on melanoma


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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recently issued a positive recommendation for the combination of Ipililumab and Nivolumab for the treatment of advanced metastatic melanoma in adults. Whilst awaiting implementation by NICE, the combination was granted interim funding through the new Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).
It came as a great surprise to us when we recently learned that NHS England has restricted the circumstances in which the drugs would be funded and available to patients on the CDF, through the implementation of a new set of criteria.

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“I think you can do it!” With these words in 2010, Harry Townsend, founder of the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund encouraged us to develop a melanoma research project at the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation. With a generous donation of £ 25,000, we were off to a very good start.
Since then, we have formed a strong multi-disciplinary research group, which consists of clinicians at the Melanoma and Skin Cancer Unit at Queen Victoria Hospital, Professor Sarah Newbury’s laboratory at Brighton and Sussex Medical School and our team at the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation.

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Approved GFest Logo
The Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund was out in force again this summer, promoting the Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code at GoFest; a family festival dedicated to all those who love sport, music, dance and health.
The festival, brainchild of Paul Farris, was held at the Surrey Sports Park in Guildford on the 13th/4th August, attracting ‘have a go’ families with the opportunity to receive family friendly, professional coaching in over 40 different sports, ranging from football to archery, wallball to canoeing, tournaments, runs and races, cricket to marathon running!

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