Melanoma Research

The AMRF is committed to funding research aimed at furthering knowledge and offering better outcomes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of melanoma.

Our aim is to support research that leads to a reduction in the incidence of melanoma and its impact on those living with the cancer. The AMRF will focus on supporting early career researchers in Australia.

The Foundation has established an evaluation framework to assist in the identification of the key research areas to optimise our funding support. Over the past few years the AMRF has provided funding to support research that has had a positive impact for some with melanoma.

Read the AMRF Melanoma Research Updates

In the Media

Spot the cancer: new advances in melanoma detection

New biomarkers to improve skin cancer detection and avoid delays in treatment are being developed by researchers at the University of South Australia.

Early phase trial of an mRNA personalised cancer vaccine

Thanks to all those who support melanoma research as amazing progress is being made.

In a world-first, an early phase trial of an mRNA personalised cancer vaccine has shown promising results for preventing melanoma recurrence in patients with resected high-risk melanoma (stage III and IV).

The Phase 2 Moderna and Merck trial involved 157 advanced melanoma patients in Australia and the USA whose melanoma had been surgically removed but who were at very high risk of it recurring. Professor Georgina Long AO, Co-Medical Director, MIA and University of Sydney professor, who was involved in the Australian arm of the clinical trial, described the early results as potentially “the second penicillin moment in cancer treatment”.

“This is the first trial to demonstrate that we can use both the mRNA technology and a personalised approach to cancer to improve outcomes for patients with cancer,” Professor Long said. “We found when we added a personalised vaccine – so an mRNA very similar to the COVID vaccine technology but based around the patient’s personal melanoma – the chance of recurrence was reduced by 44 percent. We now need to confirm results in a larger trial which we are hoping to start early next year.”

Note to melanoma patients: once open, trial details will be on the website. Click here to find out more.

Congratulations and thank you to all those involved in the amaziearly phase trial of an mRNA personalised cancer vaccineng work.

Professor Georgina Long AO

3D skin scans hold hope of early melanoma detection

You may already know about the 3D imaging machines that are being used to ID melanoma and skin cancers. To hear more click the link to the interview on radio 2GB with Deborah Knight where she interviewed Professor Victoria Mar. 

 3D skin scans hold hope of early melanoma detection – 2GB – 2GB – Sydney’s premier news and talk radio station

Research Articles ​

Research articles and scientific publications are important sources of new information for doctors, patients and the general public. Many of these publications are scientific and complex, but can provide a deeper understanding of melanoma and clinical trials of melanoma treatments to guide therapy. Research articles can contain valuable information and may help patients and families to better understand their situation and possible options. 

Melanoma Institute Australia – Research updates

Research Reviews in PDF format

Melanoma Watch video series

Please email if you have any questions about any of the publications listed below or their relevance to you.

Published Research Articles from AMRF Sponsored Research:

Repetitive long-term Vaccinia Melanoma Cell Lysate (VMCL) vaccination schedules have proved clinically effective in producing Complete Responses and strong durable survivals for up to 6.1 years in a previous study of patients with advanced Stage IV and Stage IIIc melanoma. These studies were expanded to include 54 patients for further evaluation of these findings.

Discover more

Patients with advanced metastatic melanoma are often confronted with little prospect of medium- to longer-term survival by any currently available therapeutic means. However, most clinicians are aware of exceptional cases where survival defies the notion of futility. Prolonged survival from immunotherapies, including interleukin-2, vaccines and antibodies to cytotoxic lymphocyte antigen-4, and programmed death-1 receptor inhibitory monoclonal antibody, implies a role for immune system modulation. We aimed to identify cases where exceptional survival from advanced melanoma occurred prior to recent novel therapies to facilitate better understanding of this phenomenon.

Discover more

Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a natural growth factor produced in the body which boosts the immune system cells (T-cells) to fight infection and cancer.  IL-2 was the first approved immunotherapy for cancer in the USA and other countries for the treatment of advanced melanoma.  This paper analysed over 3,300 patients across the world treated with IL-2 for advanced melanoma and examined the complete response (CR) rate (ie where all cancer disappeared), partial response rate (where some cancer disappeared) and the various combinations with other therapies.  The results showed an overall response rate of nearly 20% – a complete response rate of 4-5% and partial response rate of 12.5%.  The highest CR rate resulted from IL-2 combined with vaccine at 5.0%.  The research confirms IL-2 can be a useful treatment.  IL-2 is still used in the USA and Europe. 

Discover more

An earlier study of 37 Patients with advanced melanoma treated using repeated melanoma vaccine immunotherapy showed that it was clinically effective in generating relatively high complete response rates (where all tumour disappears), other useful clinical responses (partial removal), and long-term survivals (over 10 years), with no or little toxic effects.  The study showed that in the right situation it is clinically very effective.  AMRF co-funding began in 2008 under the leadership of Chief Investigator Prof Brendon Coventry, University of Adelaide.

Discover more

This paper puts together the existing evidence showing that the way many cancer treatments work in the cancer patient is actually through the immune system.  Studies showed that most treatments can cause damage and killing of cancer cells and produce ‘vaccination’ in the patient’s body to help boost the patient’s immune system.  This finding of treatments indirectly working as vaccines in the patient has not been widely appreciated, but is likely to be very useful and important. 

This publication is the result of analysis of some of the data from the initial studies where repeated serial blood samples were taken every 2-3 days from patients during melanoma vaccine treatment. Blood samples showed there was significant fluctuation of the blood marker CRP (C-Reactive Protein) in each patient with advanced melanoma (and some other cancers). The fluctuation shows that the immune system is not constant, but that it seems to be repeatedly switching on and off causing a ‘wave’ or ‘cycle’ of activity. A number of mathematical approaches were used to try to show whether these ‘cycles’ were regular or not. If constant cycles could be shown, then treatments could potentially be consistently targeted at specific parts of each cycle, aiming to improve the clinical outcome. The number of samples taken from each patient was generally too low to accurately show the consistent cycle for each patient. This research has shown that more samples are needed – with more samples per day being required to adequately show the ‘cycle’ in each patient. This has led to new approaches using ‘machine learning’ (see below).

This article follows on from the previous study where repeated serial CRP measurements from patients during melanoma vaccine treatment were taken to look for significant fluctuation of the blood marker to try to find consistent ‘cycles’ for each patient. Advanced ‘machine learning’ mathematics provided state-of-the-art methods to try to anticipate the next day’s CRP levels. This could indicate when to treat patients for most effective outcome. These studies are continuing.

Previously Funded Research Projects include:

These small studies investigated how the immune system fluctuated in its action against melanoma and other cancers in patients by measuring a blood marker to reveal a ‘cycle’ or ‘wave’ of effectiveness. Treatments were targeted to specific parts of the immune system ‘cycle’ for each patient to examine whether clinical outcomes could be improved compared with ‘untimed’ treatments given at any time in the cycle. The studies showed that: (i) every cancer patient had fluctuation in their immune systems; (ii) determining the immune ‘cycle’ shape in each patient was complex; and (iii) the concept of finding the best time in each patient’s immune cycle to administer treatment was not straightforward. However, this approach is still likely to be beneficial with more studies and might increase the effectiveness of some treatments for patients. The work is continuing using more complicated mathematics and is now the subject of a PhD project with Electrical Engineers at the University of Adelaide. The AMRF has co-funded this project along with the Cancer Council SA and the South Australian Medical Research Institute, University of Adelaide and the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

These studies arose from the observation that the immune system continuously fluctuates in advanced melanoma and cancer patients.  This research looked for differences in the effectiveness of the immune boosting agent interleukin-2 (IL-2) according to when it was injected into melanoma tumours growing in mice.  The findings show that the precise timing the IL-2 dose was given was very important, and these results are in the process of publication.  This work is continuing in two other studies at the University of Adelaide to check this initial finding further.  The AMRF has co-funded this project with the University. 

2023 Research Grants

Scroll to Top

Privacy Policy

Australian Melanoma Research Foundation (AMRF) respects and is committed to protecting the privacy of the people whose personal information it collects. We collect personal information about individuals who are employed by us, our donors, our volunteers, other supporters, allied associations, consultants and service providers.

Information we collect

Whenever we collect personal information, we will identify ourselves as AMRF and ensure people are aware of why we are collecting information and how we plan to use it.

The type of personal information AMRF usually collects and holds includes names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, donation date, reason for donation, merchandise orders and other information such as health related information pertaining to AMRF research and program delivery. This information may be collected in person, via our website on the secure payment gateway, as well as other sources.

When people visit our website, or download information from it, the following information is recorded by Google Analytics:

  • Their network location and IP address
  • The date and time of their visit, pages visited, and time spent on each page
  • Referring site details (ie the site and page they came from to arrive at this site)
  • Type of web browser they used
  • Type of operating system they used
  • JavaScript support, screen resolution, and screen colour processing ability

This information is only used for statistical and website development purposes. We make limited use of cookies on our website. We use cookies to improve the functionality of our website, and to remember user preferences when people return.

In the event where an individual shares unsolicited personal information that AMRF would not have collected for the purposes outlined above that information will be destroyed or de-identified as soon as is practicable.

How we use and disclose personal information

We collect and use stakeholder’s personal information to carry out the functions and activities of AMRF and to comply with our legal obligations, to maintain and update our records and to help us manage and provide our services.

We may also use information to ask for support and to keep people informed about the ways in which our donors and supporters help us to make a difference to raise funds for research, awareness and early detection programs.  People have the right to opt out of any communications from AMRF.  This will not stop them receiving receipts and other transactional communications as required by law.

We may disclose personal information to third parties who assist us to perform functions on our behalf (such as commercial mail preparation services, this information is permanently deleted by the provider upon completion of the service and confirmed in writing of such).  These external service providers are under a duty to maintain the privacy and security of your information in line with this Privacy Policy and to use your personal information only for the purpose for which it is disclosed.

AMRF does not use any government related identifiers, such as Medicare numbers or tax file numbers, of an individual as our own identifier.

Marketing and communications

We may use people’s information within AMRF only in connection with marketing and fundraising campaigns. We may provide marketing communications to stakeholders on an ongoing basis by telephone, electronic messages (eg. email), online (including websites and mobile apps) and other means, unless they opt out or we are subject to legal restrictions. These may include communications relating to AMRF and our programs, campaign and promotional messages, event invitations, fundraising opportunities and newsletters.

AMRF also sends transactional communications which include but are not limited to: Donation & Tax Receipts, forgotten password e-mails, event sign up confirmation and confirmations from Web forms.

To opt-out of receiving AMRF marketing communications people can:

  • Select the “unsubscribe” option in one of the marketing communications that they receive from us.
  • Send an email to:
  • Call us on 0419 822 969
  • Send a written request to: PO Box 574, Kent Town DC SA 5071

Security of personal information

AMRF regards the security of personal information as a priority and takes a number of precautions to protect people’s personal information from loss, misuse, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. Specific security precautions are in place for processing online payments through payment gateway providers Stripe and PayPal which include the use of encrypted links, dedicated private connections and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption. However, the Internet is not a secure environment and although all care is taken, we cannot guarantee the security of information people provide to us via electronic means such as email.

If people become aware of any inaccuracy in the personal information, we hold about themselves, they are encouraged to contact AMRF so we can update any personal information we hold.


Where it is lawful and practicable, we will allow individuals to deal with us on an anonymous basis. For example, if we receive a telephone enquiry, we will not require that the enquirer gives us their name, although depending on the nature of the enquiry, we may not be able to answer it unless they do.

We can also accept gifts and other forms of support anonymously. However, provisions contained in taxation legislation require AMRF to collect the name of the donor if the donor requires a tax-deductible receipt.

Image copyright

AMRF’s reputation and goodwill is extremely important. Permission to use images featured on this website has only been given to AMRF and therefore should not be downloaded or used in any way by a third party without consent.

For information on obtaining permission for an image, please email

Acceptance of terms

If AMRF updates or changes this Privacy Policy, the changes will be made on this page. Your continued use of AMRF’s website following the posting of changes will mean you accept those changes.

Contact us

If you have any questions about privacy-related issues OR you wish to lodge a complaint about a breach of this policy OR other privacy matter OR you do not wish to be contacted by us to ask for your support, please contact us by email at Alternatively our postal address is below:

PO Box 574
Kent Town DC SA 5071

We take your privacy concerns seriously. Where you express any concerns that we have interfered with your privacy, we will respond to let you know who will be handling your matter and when you can expect a further response. We may request additional details from you regarding your concerns and may need to engage or consult with other parties in order to investigate and deal with your issue. We will keep records of your request and any resolution.

For information about privacy generally, or if your concerns are not resolved to your satisfaction, you may contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner at and on 1300 363 992.