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Better research and better outcomes

By Pat Kelly - 25th Jun 2023

The Irish Melanoma Forum (IMF) 11th Annual Scientific Meeting hosted a stellar array of national and international experts in treatment and research last month in the O’Reilly Hall, University College Dublin (UCD). The event was hosted by IMF co-Chairs Prof Shirley Potter and Prof Desmond Tobin and was introduced by Prof Orla Feely, UCD President. The conference also incorporated clinical research sections on phenotypes, biomarkers, and histopathology in melanoma, including a Melanoma Nurse Meeting and oral presentations, as well as lively industry participation and exhibitor stands. 

The meeting featured a talk by Prof John Crown, Consultant Medical Oncologist and Professor of Medicine at St Vincent’s Medical Group and UCD, who spoke on monoclonal antibodies in combination with other therapies in the treatment of advanced melanoma. Professor of Pharmacology at UCD, Prof Breandán Kennedy, delivered a talk that was titled ‘Time to include patient clinical samples into your scientific melanoma research?’. 

Ms Sally Owens, research student at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Dublin, presented on the prognostic significance of BAP1 protein expression in uveal melanoma, whilst Dr Stephanie Bollard, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery SpR, spoke about identifying potential biomarkers for melanoma progression through profiling of plasma-delivered extracellular vesicles. 

Dr Amaya Viros, of the University of Manchester and Wellcome Trust Clinical Scientist, spoke about stromal lipids and how they can dictate melanoma metastasis and tropism, which was followed by a presentation by Prof Penny Lovat, translational research specialist at the Newcastle University’s Centre for Cancer, who gave a presentation titled ‘AMBLor: A Prognostic Biomarker for non-ulcerated AICC stage I/II Cutaneous Melanoma’. Other speakers in the morning session included Dr Cristina Casalou, Senior Research Scientist at UCD School of Medicine, who spoke about the profile of apoptosis susceptibility of cutaneous melanocytes and melanoma cells. 

The afternoon programme included another line-up of distinguished speakers. This included Prof Paul Lorigan, Professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Manchester, who discussed ‘What’s new in melanoma management?’. He was followed by Prof Eugene Healy, Professor of Dermatology at the University of Southampton, who spoke about ‘A Sojourn in cSCC, with Excursions into Melanoma’, and Dr Corina Girleanu of the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital (MMUH), who spoke about KPIs for cutaneous melanoma. Dr Mary-Catherine Walsh, Dermatology SpR in University Hospital Limerick, discussed audit of compliance with serum vitamin D measurement in newly diagnosed invasive melanoma. The final session featured Prof Fergal Moloney, Consultant Dermatologist at MMUH, who synopsised diagnostic and therapeutic considerations in lentigo maligna, and Prof Paul Nathan, Consultant Medical Oncologist at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, UK, who spoke on the challenges in the systemic treatment of uveal melanoma. 

The meeting concluded with a talk on the management of pulmonary nodules by Dr Tom Lynch, Consultant Radiologist and Nuclear Medicine Physician lead at Southern Health Trust and Queen’s University Belfast.

The attendees also heard an informative, entertaining and moving talk by Ms Miriam Staunton, Patient Advocate at Melanoma Support Ireland, about her healthcare journey after a diagnosis of metastatic melanoma.

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