The Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund

Tackling Rising Rates of Melanoma

Donated £55,000.00

BlondMcIndoe Research Foundation

Visit BlondMcIndoe Research Foundation

Donated £55,000.00 to support the work at the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead.

From Dr Yella Martin, Postdoctoral Research Fellow;

“The research programme at the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation (BMRF) aims to improve the lives of patients suffering from burns and other forms of trauma or disease, which affect the skin and underlying tissues.

Scientists at the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation have extensive expertise in skin biology, pathology and tissue regeneration in patients who have suffered severe burn wounds or other trauma. We are now applying these skills to undertake research into the detection and diagnosis of malignant melanoma. With the help of the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Fund, we have developed a research strategy to investigate the molecular biology of malignant melanoma. To achieve this, we have forged collaborations with specialist consultants in the Melanoma and Skin Cancer Unit (MASCU) at QVH and Dr. Sarah Newbury’s research group at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), who are experts in molecular biology.

Micro ribonucleic acid (miRNA) are small molecules which help regulate a number of important biological processes. Recently links have been made between abnormal production of these molecules and cancer development. Analysis of miRNA levels in malignant melanoma skin cancer has the potential to help predict prognosis and guide treatment.

The purpose of our research is to determine which miRNA molecules are abnormally expressed in melanoma. Our study will compare various miRNAs in the blood and tissue of patients with melanoma confined to the skin and melanoma that has spread to the lymph glands to miRNAs of individuals without melanoma.

Our aim is to develop a set of “biomarkers” which are characteristic for the progression of the disease. This lays the foundation for using this type of analysis to help predict disease progression, determine which patients are most likely to gain benefit from specific types of treatment and identify potential targets for therapy.

The availability of a biomarker test to detect progression of melanoma will be beneficial for all patients with early stages of the disease. If patients can be regularly tested, then early detection of entry into the more aggressive form of the disease will give clinicians an improved chance of treating the patient before the spread to the lymph nodes becomes too pronounced. This will have a direct effect on the long-term survival of patients.”

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