Despite the major advances in the treatment of metastatic melanoma in recent years, it continues to claim over 2500 lives in the UK every year.

The majority of patients still succumb to this disease because their cancer develops resistance to treatment. On the other end of the spectrum, a proportion of patients on treatment do attain long-term disease control. Further, immunotherapy can be associated with serious and life-changing side effects which profoundly affect quality of life and survivorship.

At present, it’s difficult to understand why treatments are effective for some but not others; why some patients suffer particular side effects, and how we can better understand, prevent and manage them.

The Royal Marsden Hospital, lead by Dr. Samra Turajlic and Professor James Larkin, is participating in the study in order to analyse tissue samples from patients with melanoma for in-depth testing including genetic testing.

The PEACE study seeks to collect tissue samples at post-mortem. By analysing samples collected at post-mortem The Royal Marsden Hospital have a unique opportunity to test areas of disease not accessible during life. Another unique aspect of this research is that it is integrated with the TRACERx (TRAcking melanoma evolution through therapy (Rx)) project. The TRACERx project collects tumour samples at diagnosis and blood samples throughout a patient’s treatment journey for genetic analysis.

Combining TRACERx and PEACE enables a comprehensive, longitudinal study of metastatic melanoma. Whilst traditionally one associates advances in melanoma management with drug treatment clinical trials, gaining a better understanding of the disease is equally important.

Fundraising by our supporters and online shop sales generates vital funds which goes a long way in the scientific analysis component of this project.