Ocular Melanoma Initiatives

In recognition of World Cancer Day (4th February), we would like to highlight four initiatives of Save Sight Institute’s Associate Professor Max Conway and team.

World-first targeted therapy trial

The Australasian Ocular Melanoma Alliance (AOMA) in collaboration with Save Sight Institute is developing a world-first targeted therapy trial for patients undergoing enucleation for ocular melanoma. This “neoadjuvant” trial will involve administering a targeted therapy to patients in the hope that the drug therapy will shrink their melanomas and reveal a lot about the underlying biology of ocular melanoma.

Drug development

Exciting new drug development and novel combined therapies to combat metastasis and primary ocular melanoma are being developed by SSI (A/Prof Michele Madigan) in collaboration with the Sydney Pharmacy School (A/Prof Fanfan Zhou) and Sydpath (Dr Svetlana Cherepanoff). Our team has identified combinations of drugs that are far more effective in killing melanoma cells than conventional therapies and have made groundbreaking discoveries regarding completely novel agents, which we hope to develop and bring into clinical practice soon.

Melanoma registry

Save Sight Registries Fight Tumour Blindness (FTB!) has developed a dedicated melanoma registry to track and audit ocular melanomas across NSW. In collaboration with AOMA, we are working towards world-first global ocular melanoma registry to track and audit ocular melanomas across Australia, the United States and Europe. The pioneering study will provide a basis for understanding and treating ocular melanomas well into the next decade and provide an unprecedented opportunity for global cooperation.

Multidisciplinary Ocular Oncology Team Meeting (MDT)

MDT is the first and only such multidisciplinary meeting in Australasia for ocular cancer; established and chaired by A/Prof Conway.

The team brings together specialists across the spectrum of cancer management and world’s best practice (including early entry into groundbreaking trials) to the benefit of ocular cancer patients and their families. The meeting utilises cutting edge molecular diagnostics (Dr Svetlana Cherepanoff/Dr Robyn Lukeis  (Sydpath) and A/Prof Luke Heson and A/Prof Joshua  (Kinghorn Cancer Centre and Garvan Institute of Medical Research) to provide cancer patients with an personalised molecular diagnosis; tailoring the drug and other treatments exactly to the molecular characteristics of the tumour.  “MDT is considered the best practice in treatment planning for patients with cancer” (canceraustralia.gov.au), including reducing disparities in outcomes, improved clinical decision making, allowing access to molecular testing & targeted therapies where appropriate, ensuring appropriate follow-ups and adjuvant or neoadjuvant treatment. See more from our recent national meeting.