The Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund

Tackling Rising Rates of Melanoma

Vital Melanoma Research Gets Underway!

Research update from the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation Feb 2014


“Patient recruitment is finished and experiments are underway now”

Scientists at the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation 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.  Dr. Sarah Smalley, postdoctoral fellow at Blond McIndoe Research Foundation, started her post in October 2013.

To keep you all updated on this work, here is a word from Dr Smalley:

“Having previously worked on the molecular mechanisms underlying brain tumours, I’m now transferring this knowledge to my work with melanoma. I’m really excited to be part of this collaboration between the clinical unit at QVH, Dr. Newbury’s molecular biology laboratory at Brighton and Sussex Medical School and Professor Tony Metcalfe and Dr. Yella Martin at the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation.”

BM Lab
Dr. Smalley working in the laboratory and her reaction to completion of the patient recruitment:

By looking at small RNA molecules in the blood, the scientists at the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation are hoping to find a set of “biomarkers” that are indicative of progression to metastatic melanoma. For this work, patients with different stages of melanoma were asked to join this study and give a small amount of blood for analysis. The patient recruitment was undertaken by the clinical team, starting back in November 2011 and has just finished.

The scientists are now starting the exciting laboratory analysis phase of the project. The group will use a next-generation sequencing machine at University of Sussex, a cutting-edge technology, to identify the small RNA molecules present in the different blood samples.

I’ve joined this project at a great time. The hardworking clinical team have been busy recruiting patients for the last year and four months and we can now start working in the lab. I have been busy preparing for this moment, learning how to do the complex data analysis for the next generation-sequencing and feel fortunate to be able to use such ground-breaking technology for this project.“

Check back on this blog for regular updates on this exciting work.

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