Clinicians and researchers from across Australia and beyond united online, bringing the AMC2021 conference theme of Promising Futures to life.

More than 600 clinicians and researchers from across Australia and beyond united online for the virtual 2021 Australasian Melanoma Conference (AMC) on 19 -20 November. AMC2021 certainly brought the conference theme of Promising Futures to life.

Proudly hosted by Melanoma Institute Australia, and chaired by MIA’s Co-Medical Directors Professor Georgina Long AO and Professor Richard Scolyer AO, the two-day conference showcased an outstanding program covering our latest understanding of melanoma across all stages of the disease spectrum and featuring a range of multidisciplinary experts from across the globe.

Due to COVID restrictions the conference used a customised virtual platform that mimicked an in-person conference, featuring concurrent sessions, a poster gallery, an exhibition hall, a meeting hub and more. In addition to presentations, the program also featured skill-based workshops, case-study based panel discussions and engaging debates on topics related to melanoma diagnosis. Wellness breaks were also scheduled to help delegates refocus and re-energize throughout the conference.

“We are a little disappointed we are not able to meet in person, but we have a wonderful program, covering melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, which highlights patient’s perspectives and the latest in clinical care and research.” – Prof Richard Scolyer AO

A fundamental principle of AMC was that it was patient-centric – given how important patients are to driving the research that we do at MIA. After a moving Welcome to Country, the opening ceremony featured a powerful story from patient Josephine Gluhak, who shared her journey with Stage IV melanoma for the very first time with the clinicians and researchers who dedicate their lives to helping people like her. With the theme of the conference ‘Promising Futures’, Josephine reflected on how going from having a Stage IV diagnosis to having a promising future was truly remarkable.

“The most important thing is we put the patient at the centre of everything we do – our clinical care and the focus of our research. They drive everything we do.” – Prof Georgina Long AO

The conference unfolded with key insights shared covering a vast array of topics addressing our latest understanding of treatment for early and advanced melanoma (including drug resistance and toxicities), rare melanoma subtypes, loco-regional disease, early diagnosis and staging, supportive care, fundamental melanoma biology, identifying molecular targets for future treatments, and much more.

We now know that melanoma is not just one disease and therefore requires individualised diagnoses and treatments to ensure the best outcomes for our patients – and the diversity and breadth of topics covered at AMC certainly reflected this.

An inspiring and informative Melanoma Patient and Carer Forum was co-hosted by MIA and Melanoma Patients Australia on Saturday afternoon.  Dedicated sessions for GPs were also held on Saturday to ensure our latest understanding of melanoma is translated into the clinical setting to ensure improved patient care.

One key message that resonated throughout many of the presentations, discussions and debates was the importance of multidisciplinary care when it comes to treating a patient with melanoma.

Managing melanoma requires a team of people with different skill sets to develop the best possible management plan for each patient, and so it was reassuring to see so many different specialists coming together at AMC to grow in their knowledge together.

Although the breakthroughs in melanoma in the last decade have been so significant, we do not rest on our laurels as there are still so many challenges that we, as researchers, must tackle. It is important that we continue to push our understanding of melanoma through research. Educational forums, like the AMC, are vital to sharing this knowledge and working together towards our goal of zero deaths from melanoma.

Thank you to our AMC2021 sponsors – Bristol Myers Squibb, Novartis, MSD and Pierre Fabre – and all AMC exhibitors.

#AMC2021  #PromisingFutures