Melanoma March 2022 is aiming to raise $1 million for a world-first clinical trial of a Personalised Immunotherapy Platform which could transform cancer treatment across the globe and ultimately save many thousands of lives.

This year is the 11th anniversary of the national Melanoma March fundraising campaign, which is needing to raise $1 million to support a world-first personalised immunotherapy clinical trial for advanced melanoma patients.

Currently, 50% of advanced melanoma patients don’t respond to, or develop resistance to the immunotherapy treatment which saves others. The clinical trial is to test a Personalised Immunotherapy Platform designed to ensure these patients get effective treatment the first time, based on their own genetics and tumour biology.

COVID saw the cancellation of the traditional family-friendly physical Melanoma March events for last two years, resulting in a $1.5million shortfall in funding and making this year’s campaign more important than ever.

‘We are looking forward to welcoming our much loved community back to local Melanoma March events around the country,’ said MIA CEO Matthew Browne. ‘Not only did the COVID cancellations mean we couldn’t gather to support each other and remember loved ones, but we also were left with a $1.5 million fundraising shortfall.

‘So this year’s campaign is critical to ensure the world-first personalised immunotherapy clinical trial can get underway, which has the potential to transform cancer treatment globally.’

Australia has the highest melanoma rates in the world. One person is diagnosed every 30 minutes and one Australian dies from melanoma every 6 hours. It is the most common cancer affecting 20-39 year old Australians.

Melanoma March events are being held in every state and territory throughout the month of March, all organised by volunteer committees who are dedicated to raising funds to help save lives from melanoma. Those who can’t attend a physical event are encouraged to ‘March Your Way’ and support the campaign by getting active with a group of friends or individually.

‘I am confident our communities from across Australia will step up and support this year’s Melanoma March campaign,’ added Mr Browne.

In this video Peter Overton, our MIA National Ambassador, discusses the purpose of Melanoma March with our MIA Co-Medical Directors, Prof Richard Scolyer AO and Prof Georgina Long AO:

What is the Personalised Immunotherapy Clinical Trial?

The Personalised Immunotherapy Platform (PIP) is a complex tool developed by Melanoma Institute Australia and seed funded by previous Melanoma March events. It uses a patient’s individual tumour biomarkers to predict resistance to current treatment and identify alternative effective drug therapies to improve survival.

The next crucial step is to conduct a clinical trial of the Personalised Immunotherapy Platform – the PIP-Trial – which is being led by Melanoma Institute Australia. The PIP-Trial aims to enrol patients across multiple centres including MIA’s The Poche Centre in Sydney.

‘If successful, this world-first clinical trial could well prove the Personalised Immunotherapy Platform to be the Holy Grail in cancer treatment,’ MIA Co-Medical Director Professor Georgina Long AO said.

‘Providing the right treatment to the right person at the right time will not only save lives, but it will also reduce the physical, emotional and financial costs of a patient having to go through several treatments with no certainty they will work,’ she said.

First tested and adopted as treatment for melanoma and now the most widely used drug therapy in cancer, immunotherapy is successfully curing a large proportion of patients with advanced melanoma. But 50% of advanced melanoma patients either don’t respond to, or develop resistance to the same immunotherapy treatment that proves life-saving for others.

‘Support from previous Melanoma March events fuelled our work in developing the Personalised Immunotherapy Platform, and every single Melanoma March participant this year is helping us to enrol patients onto this ground-breaking PIP clinical trial,’ added Co-Medical Director Professor Richard Scolyer AO.

‘Together we are taking critical steps that have the potential to transform treatment for advanced melanoma patients and revolutionise treatment of other cancers right across the globe.’

Melanoma March is an initiative of Melanoma Institute Australia, incorporating melanomaWA and Amie St Clair.

It is proudly supported by Melanoma Patients Australia, Australian Melanoma Research Foundation, Skin Cancer Tasmania and other melanoma research organisations across Australia, as well as MIA Corporate Partner Ego Sunsense.