Australian Melanoma Research Foundation is honoured to announce the creation and inaugural awarding of the Warren Meanwell Melanoma Research Grant of 2022.
This prestigious grant will be awarded to an outstanding melanoma research project focused on improving outcomes for melanoma patients. Warren Meanwell was a father, sportsman, adventurer, business owner and passionate campaigner of sun safety.
It was while Warren was working as an electrician at the mines in WA when he became alarmed by the devastating effects of skin cancer in the mine workers. By 1994 he and wife Kerryn had begun their journey of sun awareness that made hardened sun lovers think about their own safety. They began their clothing business SunProtection Australia (formerly GOSO) providing high quality, practical clothing solutions.
With Warren’s infectious personality and sense of passion old habits started changing for new, particularly within the recreational fishing industry.
As is the irony of life both Warren and Kerryn’s focus became deeply personal, when in 2006, Warren was diagnosed with malignant melanoma.
Despite his knowledge of this unforgiving disease, Warren never gave up hope and he continued to inspire everyone who came into contact with him. Even when confronted with devastating news, Warren made sure that doctors and nurses in the field knew that their company was out there to help others. Warren lost his brave battle in December 2010. He was 49.
A devoted son, brother, husband and father Warren left behind a daughter Lara and son Mathew. Both of whom would like to one day continue their father’s legacy within the business.
Meanwhile Kerryn and her team continue to create quality, practical UPF50+ clothing so people can enjoy the great outdoors safely and with peace of mind.
WARREN MEANWELL / 1961- 2010 aged 49
Research Grant Recipient for 2023
Identifying the gene expression signatures of tumour-specific CD8+ T cells in adjuvant anti-PD-1 treated stage III melanoma patients
The University of Sydney, NSW
CD8+ T cells are immune cells which can target and destroy cancer cells, and many immune therapies – such as anti-PD-1 therapy – work by boosting these cells. Immunotherapy is not 100% effective for all melanoma patients, and researchers are currently working to figure out why. Intriguing new research has suggested that many of the CD8+ T cells in tumours do not target melanoma cells. Understanding how this occurs could be vital to improving melanoma therapies and reducing treatment side-effects. However, with current technologies it’s difficult to differentiate between the CD8+ T cells that target melanoma – the ‘melanoma-specifics’ – and those that do not – the ‘bystanders’.
Our study will combine multiple cutting-edge technologies to generate gene expression signatures that distinguish melanoma-specific and bystander CD8+ T cells in the tumours and blood of metastatic melanoma patients treated with anti-PD-1 therapy. With these signatures, we will learn more about melanoma-specific and bystander CD8+ T cell functions and their roles in immunotherapy response and resistance. It is hoped that generating these CD8+ T cell profiles for melanoma patients will lead to more personalised and effective therapies.
Research Grant Recipient for 2022
The Lentigo Maligna Project
Dr Bruna Melhoranse Gouveia
Melanoma Institute Australia and Sydney University, NSW
The Lentigo Maligna Spectrum Project aims to answer a crucial clinical question for melanoma management: how can we differentiate a melanoma in its very early stages from an invasive melanoma?
Lentigo Maligna represents the most prevalent form of melanoma in situ in Australia with an incidence rising rapidly.
There is an urgent need to improve the diagnostic accuracy of the Lentigo Maligna and its invasive variant, Lentigo Maligna Melanoma, in order to establish when it is safe to treat it with non-surgical modalities versus when surgery is mandatory, and which surgical margins are necessary.
Our research has established a safe and non-invasive assessment with confocal microscopy to detect microinvasion components on LM lesion. We aim to identify the confocal features with high predictive performance associated with the invasion component of this common type of melanoma. Therefore, we hope to contribute to daily clinical practice by helping confocal experts to identify LMMinvasive lesions with better accuracy.
“It is an honour to be awarded the Inaugural Warren Meanwell Melanoma Research Grant 2022. We hope our work will make a real difference that will ultimately improve outcomes for melanoma patients. Thank you.”
Dr Bruna Melhoranse Gouveia