Dr Jessamy Tiffen Centenary Institute$447,7252021-2023
Melanoma kills one person every five hours in Australia. New immunotherapies and targeted treatments have provided hope for patients with advanced melanoma, but for many patients these treatments are ineffective or only work for a limited time before the cancer develops resistance. There is an urgent need to find new drugs for patients with no remaining treatment options available to them.
Dr Tiffen and her team are looking for new treatment approaches for advanced melanoma through epigenetics. Put simply, epigenetics is the study of the information layered on top of DNA. When this additional information changes, it can change the way a gene behaves, and may lead to changes in cell behaviour (i.e cancer). In this project, Dr Tiffen will home in on an epigenetic process called histone methylation that they believe plays an important role in driving treatment resistance in melanoma. In the lab, the team will test different epigenetic approaches to control histone methylation in melanoma.
Dr Tiffen hopes their research will deepen our understanding of the epigenetics of melanoma, as well as identifying potential new treatment approaches to improve outcomes for patients with advanced melanoma.