There is currently no cure for melanoma once it has spread beyond the original site. A new treatment approach called immunotherapy can cause long-lasting melanoma regression. However, only a small proportion of melanoma patients benefit from immunotherapy. Resistance of melanoma to these treatments is closely related to the ability of melanoma cells to escape cell death. We will investigate how a molecule called H19 is elevated and how H19 protects melanoma cells from death induced by targeted therapy and immunotherapy drugs. Understanding how theses cells evade death will improve treatment outcomes of most patients with late-stage melanoma.
Australia has the highest incidence of melanoma in the world and kills more young Australians aged 20–34 years old than any other single cancer.