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Manchester’s fight against cancer gets boost with £1.5M research grant

In a groundbreaking effort led by Dr. Amaya Viros and her team at the CRUK Manchester Institute, a £1.5 million grant from Cancer Research UK fuels a five-year study unlocking new insights into melanoma spread, offering hope for improved treatment.

In a significant stride toward advancing skin cancer treatment and prevention, a Manchester scientist, Dr. Amaya Viros, and her team at the CRUK Manchester Institute have secured a substantial £1.5 million grant from Cancer Research UK

The funding will fuel a five-year study aimed at predicting and understanding the spread of melanoma, the most severe form of skin cancer. This research holds the potential to identify therapeutic targets and develop strategies to prevent the recurrence of melanoma.

A Cure for Skin Cancer

Dr. Amaya Viros, the recipient of the 2018 Rising Star Award from the European Society for Dermatological Research, leads a dedicated team delving into post-surgery treatment development for high-risk melanoma patients.

The study also explores the influence of ageing on melanoma progression. By examining melanoma in human and mice tissue samples exposed to diverse environments, the team seeks to identify cues predicting the potential spread of melanoma cells to other organs.

This research aims to unveil signals impacting disease progression and immunotherapy response, offering new metabolic and site-specific targets to impede progression and enhance treatment response.

Cancer Research UK’s Investment in Manchester

Iain Foulkes, Executive Director of Research and Innovation at Cancer Research UK, emphasised the vital role of the £1.5 million investment in Manchester’s expertise in melanoma.

The funding is anticipated to be a crucial step toward more targeted treatment, focusing on understanding how melanoma spreads throughout the body.

This knowledge is pivotal for predicting the spread of melanoma and developing strategies to halt disease progression, ultimately addressing one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths.

Melanoma Cases on the Rise

As per recent analysis, the number of melanoma diagnoses in the UK has surged to a record 17,500 annually, with projections indicating a potential 50% increase over the next two decades.

Disturbingly, the North West alone sees 40 new melanoma cases every week, totalling over 2,000 cases annually.

Dr. Viros stressed the urgency of the situation, stating that while survival rates are improving, the continuous rise in melanoma cases necessitates additional tools to aid patients at risk of cancer metastasis, or the spread of cancer cells.

Stories from a Cancer Survivor

Andy Mount, a 40-year-old IT manager from Rochdale and melanoma survivor, underscores the importance of such groundbreaking research.

Diagnosed with stage three melanoma at 27, Mount recalls the shock and fear of his diagnosis. Having successfully battled melanoma in 2011, he continues to undergo regular monitoring with his dermatologist.

Speaking to I Love MCR, he said: “Being diagnosed with stage three melanoma at 27 was a huge shock to me.

“I do feel lucky to be alive.

“My experience was frightening, and I still see my dermatologist every six months for my remaining moles to be monitored.

 “This study could benefit people like me.

“By finding out more about how melanoma can spread it could further improve treatments and ultimately help to save more lives of those people diagnosed with melanoma in the future.”

Mount welcomes the study, expressing hope that a deeper understanding of melanoma spread could enhance treatments and save more lives in the future.

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