US enlists UQ to seek new ways to battle melanoma

12 Sep 2022

Researchers at The University of Queensland have been awarded international funding to combat an expected escalation of skin cancer cases in US troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

silhouette of soldiers Dr Samantha Stehbens and Dr Mel White from UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience will spend three years combining their work in cancer biology and neuroscience after receiving a United States Department of Defense Melanoma Research Program Idea Award.

“Only 13 per cent of the 3 million US defence staff deployed in Iraq during the Operation Iraqi Freedom missions wore sunscreen, so the rate of melanoma in returned troops is increasing,” Dr Stehbens said.

“Melanoma is often fatal because it is particularly efficient at travelling to the brain and thriving once it gets there.

“Unfortunately, once it reaches the brain it becomes increasingly difficult to treat, with a median overall survival of just 5 to 11 months.”

Melanoma is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australians aged 25-29 years, so the researchers say their work will also have local benefits.

The project is looking at ways to stop melanoma progressing to the brain and how the brain environment can affect the seeding of tumours.'

Read the full article on UQ News