Our mission is to cure melanoma - a lofty mission but one of hope that keeps us focussed and motivated to raise funds for vital research as well as awareness and education programs.
The Foundation has offered financial support to local melanoma research projects and clinical trials within the Newcastle Melanoma Unit as well as researchers at Hunter Medical Research Institute together with the University of Newcastle. A major role of the Newcastle Melanoma Unit over the years has been to conduct research into the causes, prevention, early detection and treatment of melanoma.
This research role was originally initiated by Professor Robert Burton when the Newcastle Melanoma Unit (NMU) was established in 1981 and carried on since 1984 by Conjoint Professor in Oncology Peter Hersey.
The Hunter Melanoma Foundation has been a vital supporter of the melanoma research since 1988.
Some of these projects include:
The Foundation provided funds to purchase software for this vital database which recorded 90% of all people who developed melanoma in our region. Several important research findings have been made from analysis of this data, eg. these studies were the first to show that patients who presented with thick melanoma were mostly in older age groups and particularly men. This resulted in identification of this group as targets for early detection programs. The HMF "Checkmate” campaign was developed as a direct result of these findings to reduce the high mortality rate of over 50 males in the hunter region. It also led to several studies on the role of photography in early detection of melanoma.
From pipettes to computers the Foundation has helped researchers purchase essential and expensive equipment for over 30 years. Items include computers, software, incubators, storage freezers, microscopes, Biohood, MoleMax photo storage camera, dermatoscopes, UV camera. Our most recent purchase was a new centrifuge machine in 2020.
Research Training and PHDs
The Foundation has been instrumental in helping to assist prominent local melanoma researchers Prof Peter Hersey and Associate Professor Nikola Bowden by helping to fund a Surgical Fellow and provision of PhD Scholarships over many years. Some of the PHD scholarship recipients have made great inroads into melanoma research. Dr Kristen Radford (who has since gone on to establish her own laboratory, at the Brisbane Mater Hospital) Dr Christian Gray, Dr David Wroblewski, Dr Ryan Davey and Dr Chloe Warren (who's PHD was funded through a bequest from Cath Foster who lost her battle with melanoma).
This support has contributed greatly to the breakthroughs in immunotherapy treatments for melanoma.
The Foundation supported the NMU’s clinical trial on melanoma vaccine.
One of only 6 in Australia the Foundation purchased the UV monitor so that live UV readings could be taken and tracked providing vital data. The monitor - originally located on the rooftop of NBN Television was relocated to the rooftop of the Mater Hospital. The live UV readings can be found at www.arpansa.gov.au
The Foundation has a long term commitment to the ongoing education of NMU staff through the funding of their attendance to national and international melanoma and cancer conferences