We asked Dr Hurlstone for a brief update on the project that Melanoma UK has been supporting. 

Dr Hurlstone told us: "The good news is that we have been successful in securing funding for our research from the Melanoma Research Alliance (an award worth $375,000 starting in August for three years) which puts us on a sustainable path. Undeniably the bridging support I’ve received from Melanoma UK, the Christie Charity and SCaRF over the last three years has allowed us (my PhD student and I) to keep the momentum going in the project and to generate the pilot data needed for this award. All contributions count equally from my perspective and you will always have my enormous gratitude. This research could easily have fizzled out"

The latest findings are also gratifying. The team has recently begun a collaboration with a biotech company who has made a drug against the drug target they have identified.  The data coming in indicates that this drug can greatly increase the potency of immunotherapy (in mice, at least). 

The funds from Melanoma UK helped to purchase the reagents needed for this experiment.  Things are very much going in the right direction. 

Dr Hurlstone went on to say "Personally I’m very excited with what we’re seeing.  Awaiting the next instalment of data is like waiting for the next episode of a favourite drama.  I don’t mean to trivialise what your families go through but I’m really enjoying the science. It’s what I’ve loved since I was a boy.  

This data gets us a lot closer to clinical trial and our collaborators in biotech are also keen to help us get there. Hopefully, one day not too far away, our research could help melanoma patients live longer/get over their illness."

Melanoma UK is delighted to have been able to support this work.  A number of our supporters and donors have helped us to provide the support needed and we are grateful to them all.