Feasibility of implementing precision medicine for the treatment of metastatic melanoma (2016–2021)

Melanoma is a significant clinical problem in Australia and across the world. Effective screening and treatment strategies are needed to reduce the burden of this disease. Mortality rates for patients treated with non-specific traditional chemotherapy are high. However, molecular based therapies targeting recurrent somatic mutations in BRAF have, for the first time, shown a marked improvement in the treatment outcomes for patients. In Australia, there are currently two alternatives to chemotherapy that have been approved for the treatment of metastatic melanoma in patients with a BRAF mutation. However, in cases without a BRAF mutation there are no approved therapies outside of traditional chemotherapy. Identifying diverse drug targets could provide improved treatment strategies and greater options for patients with metastatic disease. The goal of this project is to identify off-the-shelf drugs that are not currently used in the treatment of melanoma but could be used to target different mutations and chromosomal aberrations that occur in these tumours. If this is successful, it could be the basis of new clinical trials for patients with metastatic cutaneous melanoma, resulting in a readily translated positive clinical outcome. Ultimately, this could improve the overall survival for patients with metastatic disease that do not meet the criteria for current drug trials or who have shown limited response with current treatment options.
Grant type:
NHMRC Early Career Fellowships
Funded by:
National Health and Medical Research Council