Queensland’s groundbreaking work in melanoma research was showcased at the Joint Meeting of the 9th World Congress of Melanoma and 14th International Congress of the Society for Melanoma Research.

Around 1,500 of the world’s foremost melanoma researchers, medical practitioners and health professionals from 53 countries met at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC) from 18-21 October to discuss the latest developments in the diagnosis, treatment and research of the deadly skin cancer.

The location of the congress was particularly pertinent: melanoma kills more than 1,700 Australians every year, with the state of Queensland recording the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world. 

The congress win also aligns strongly with Brisbane’s reputation as a centre for excellence in melanoma research. The congress was secured for the city by a core of local skin cancer experts and BCEC Convention Advocates, led by Professor H. Peter Soyer. The Director of the Dermatology Research Centre (DRC) at the University of Queensland (UQ) School of Medicine, Soyer is also Director of the Dermatology Department at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital. He is also an Adjunct Professor within the UQ Diamantina Institute, a translational research team dedicated to improving the detection and management of severe and chronic diseases, including skin cancer.

Earlier this year the Queensland Government allocated $600,000 over 18 months towards a new project led by Soyer set to revolutionise the early detection of the melanoma.

The project takes an innovative, genomics approach to melanoma prevention, using a simple saliva-based genetic test to identify a person’s inherited/inherent risk. Queensland Health Minister Cameron Dick said the funding would come from the Queensland Genomics Health Alliance (QGHA), a $25 million five-year program funded by the Palaszczuk Government under the Advance Queensland initiative. “Our Government is positioning Queensland as a world leader in the translation of genomics research into healthcare practice.”

As Congress Co-President, Soyer believes the congress will push forward new medical and scientific discoveries and treatment which will help transform melanoma prevention, diagnoses and treatment worldwide: “We are working towards a world without melanoma.”

BCEC General Manager Bob O’Keeffe adds that the centre was privileged to host a congress which was of such importance and held so much hope for Queenslanders and Australians. “The value of these events to Brisbane and Queensland both in knowledge sharing and profile is enormous.”

(via BCEC and UQ)

Featured image: Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC)