- 29 August 2019
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
THURSDAY 29 AUGUST 2019, 1.00 PM
Auditorium, Level 6, Bancroft Building
The actionable melanoma genome
Professor Nicholas Hayward
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
Melanomas come in a variety of flavours. Not all are caused by exposure to sunlight. Different histological subtypes are driven by diverse driver mutations and dysregulation of different cellular pathways. Many of these aberrations lend themselves to therapeutic intervention with a range of small molecule inhibitors. Sun-induced melanomas frequently have a high mutation burden, leading to expression of neoepitopes, which makes them responsive to immune checkpoint inhibition. The TGA/FDA approval over the last 8 years of a series of drugs to treat advanced melanoma has led significantly improved survival and a substantial reduction in mortality, however, further ‘omics’ research is needed to increase the proportion of patients for whom durable responses can be achieved.
Professor Nicholas Hayward obtained his PhD from the University of Queensland in 1983 and is currently Head of the Oncogenomics Laboratory and Senior Scientist at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. He has studied the molecular genetics of melanoma for >30 years and is a foundation member of the International Melanoma Genetics Consortium (GenoMEL) and the Society for Melanoma Research. His work spans molecular epidemiology, genetics, genomics, and cell biology melanoma. He played key roles in the identification of CDK4, MITF, POT1, ACD and TERF2IP as familial melanoma susceptibility genes and has contributed significantly to many genome-wide association studies for melanoma and the associated phenotypic risk traits of pigmentation and naevi. Through his extensive research collaborations he has contributed to the understanding of key somatic mutations that drive melanocytic neoplasia, including roles in the seminal findings of BRAF mutations in naevi, and novel driver mutations in cutaneous, acral, mucosal and uveal melanoma. Professor Hayward is a principal investigator of the Australian Melanoma Genome Project, which aims to characterize the genomic landscape of somatic mutations and chromosomal aberrations in >500 melanomas, covering each of the main histological subtypes. A topic that he will speak on today.