Melanoma is caused by uncontrolled cell growth of certain cells in the skin, and are primarily the result of exposure to high levels of ultraviolet light – from spending too long in the sun, or from excessive use of tanning devices.
There are ~12,000 new cases and ~2,200 deaths from melanoma each year in the UK, but new targeted therapies have significantly improved outcomes in melanoma. There has been particular progress in understanding how drugs that work with the immune system can be used to fight and overcome melanoma. However, how well those drugs work vary between individuals and it’s likely that the reasons behind this are due to the variety in people’s genes. Therefore the Melanoma GeCIP domain will be using the genetic sequence from the 100,000 Genomes Project to understand what those variations are and how they can be used to identify which patients will and won’t benefit from certain medication.
The impressive advances in melanoma care has increased average survival in patients with advanced disease from 9 months (2010) to 25-30 months (2015), but most advanced patients will still die from their disease. Improved understanding of melanoma genetics is needed to improve outcome for melanoma patients.