Vote for Jessica Duarte, one of MMP’s awesome young scientists.

Summary of her project

Melanoma, known as Australia’s national cancer, is the deadliest type of skin cancer with the highest rates being reported in Australia and New Zealand (~60 cases per 100 000 individuals per year). Locally, melanoma is also the most commonly diagnosed cancer in young Australians aged between 15 and 39 years, making up 20% of all cancer cases and killing more of these individuals than any other single cancer.

Recent advances in melanoma treatment include novel immunotherapies targeting key immunological checkpoints. This treatment has led to previously unobserved objective and durable clinical responses across a subset of melanoma patients, but approximately half of all patients fail to have any benefit. The detection of therapeutic success – usually using image-based techniques – often takes time, and can be misinforming. Biomarkers of therapeutic response that can (i) accurately identify patients that are responding or not to a specific treatment and (ii) inform necessary alternative interventions, such as radiotherapy, are therefore urgently needed.