World experts launch lifesaving melanoma research centre

Leading global skin cancer experts will today launch Queensland’s first Centre for Research Excellence for the Study of Naevi, to improve the early detection of melanoma.

The Centre will be a collaboration between the University of Queensland, Cancer Council Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and the University of Sydney, based at the Translational Research Institute.

The landmark collaboration will be led by Prof H. Peter Soyer, Chair in Dermatology and Director of the Dermatology Research Centre at the University of Queensland.

“The Centre will be the first of its kind to conduct several research programs dedicated to investigating naevi.

“Most melanomas grow adjacent to or within moles on the skin, also known as naevi,” Prof Soyer said.

“We know that many of these spots and moles will never become a problem for people, but some do, and it’s still a mystery for us to know which of these naevi may become a problem in future.

“The new Centre for Research Excellence will allow us to more systematically study how naevi change over the lifetime.

“Our work will document the naevus life cycle and how this varies according to age, sex and body site, and will assist Queenslanders in self-skin examination.”

The Centre for Research Excellence will use microbiopsies from UQ’s Dermatology Research Centre to instantly capture small pieces of skin for genetic diagnosis.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said the launch of the Centre was vital for Queensland, which has the highest rates of melanoma in the world.

“Queensland has a melanoma incidence rate of about 71 cases per 100,000 people (for the years 2009-2013), vastly exceeding rates in all other jurisdictions nationally and internationally,” Ms Clift said.

“Helping Queenslanders better understand what to look for on their skin is crucial to help detect melanoma early.

“Most melanomas diagnosed in Australia are first noticed by the patients themselves, or their relatives and friends.

“Our aim is to educate Queenslanders to see their GP if a naevus changes. The Centre will produce new research about how often this occurs, and whether changes at a certain age or body site are more important than others.

“Get to know your own skin and conduct regular self-checks. If you notice a new spot or lesion, or a spot or lesion change in shape, colour or size – visit your GP immediately.”

More than 3600 Queenslanders are diagnosed with melanoma each year, and it is estimated that over 350,000 non-melanoma skin cancers are treated.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland, and reducing the risk of skin cancer, is available via 13 11 20 or


For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift,
Executive Manager,
Media and Spokesperson,
Cancer Council Queensland
Phone: (07) 3634 5372
Mobile: 0409 001 171