Melanoma UK's fundraisers have helped us to provide a further £20,000 to support this program.  Over the last few years we have provided a number of donations to support this program, thus far totalling £90,000.  

The Melanoma PEACE is a national post-mortem program, which affords the unique opportunity to comprehensively study lethal melanoma by allowing exhaustive sampling of metastases, something not feasible during life. The aim of the PEACE program is to understand how melanoma evolves over time, and why some melanomas are more responsive to treatment than others. To date the program has profiled about 500 samples from 14 patients representing the diverse melanoma subtypes. We found that the patterns in which melanoma evolves and spreads are different between patients, based on the analysis of individual tumour mutations. This was in some cases associated with a mixed response from different tumours in the same patient (i.e. lung metastases became smaller while brain metastases were stable).

The results saw that not only gene mutations influenced response to immunotherapy, but likely large-scale changes in the number of chromosomes (aneuploidy) play a role in disease progression. The second phase includes profiling the next 9 patients enrolled in PEACE, which will greatly increase statistical power and enrich our insights into the evolution of this cancer.

How cancers spread to other parts of the body is arguably the most important knowledge gap in cancer research today. The process of cancer spread is complex and requires close collaboration of patients, physicians and scientists.  The  work in melanoma peace study involves the use of cutting edge technologies and development of bespoke computational approaches.

Samra Turajlic of the Royal Marsden said "Melanoma UK's generous support towards this project has enabled us to deploy these approaches to work out how melanomas spread and ultimately this will help us find the ways of preventing the spread. We are grateful to all of you who work tirelessly to fundraise and enable this critically important research."