The Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund

Tackling Rising Rates of Melanoma

Research update from the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation

October 2015


“Analysis of individual melanoma patient samples is underway”

The Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund is proud to be working with the scientists at the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation, having recently donated £20,000 to their most recent work into melanoma.

The team hope to identify a new set of biomarkers which will be indicative of progression to metastatic melanoma. For their research, small RNA molecules in the blood (microRNAs) are being analysed by the scientists 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 the charity, 60 patients were able to be recruited into this study and a small amount of their blood analysed.

Dr. Yella Martin at the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation explains; “we have been working together with the charity’s medical ambassador Mr. Paul Banwell, Mr Marc Pacifico and their teams 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 have been very generous in supporting our research and this project would not be possible without their help.

By using innovative molecular biology technologies, 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 have now started to identify potential miRNA biomarkers and begun the validation process looking for them in each individual patient sample.”

Mr. Trevor Eydmann, Research Assistant at the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation commented; “we are looking at the differences in the small RNA molecules present within the blood of patients with different stages of melanoma. We are now analysing individual patient samples to look for any changes in these molecules. 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 diagnosed and how quickly they can receive treatment.”

Melanoma is the fastest rising cancer in young people and skin cancer is now the UK’s most common cancer with over 100,000 new cases of non-melanoma cancer and more than 13,000 new cases of melanoma diagnosed each year and more than 2,100 Britons dying from skin cancer every year.

The Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund is dedicated to helping teams like this one at Blond McIndoe strive for a better understanding of how a cure can be found. With this type of work, we are one step closer to achieving our goal.

Without your help, we cannot fund this vital research. Please help us by donating at


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