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Melanoma is now one of the most common cancers in people aged 15 to 34, with around 12,800 people diagnosed with the disease every year. New treatments mean that in recent years, many patients now survive melanoma. And supporters of The Christie Charity have helped make this incredible breakthrough possible by funding vital research into these treatments.

It’s amazing that research means that more people can live the lives they thought they’d never have after melanoma. But now, our scientists want to do more research to understand the long-term side effects of these treatments. With your help, our experts want to make sure melanoma patients can have full and healthy lives after cancer.

What our experts want to study

Doctors are now using an extremely effective treatment called immunotherapy to treat melanoma. Immunotherapy uses drugs called Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors (ICIs) to boost the immune system and attack cancer cells.

ICIs are lifesavers but may lead to serious health conditions in some patients, called late effects. Currently, experts don’t know why this happens. These conditions may develop some time after treatment and can affect any part of the body.

That’s why our experts want to research late effects, so they can predict and prevent these illnesses. But they need your help to make it happen.

Donate below to support the Immune Tox research into late effects after cancer treatment.

After cancer treatment, patients should feel relieved, with the rest of their lives ahead of them. They should be able to appreciate their health, their loved-ones, their life more than ever before – especially as so many melanoma patients are younger people. But the possibility of facing a lifetime of illness due to treatment late effects can overshadow patients’ lives.

For Matt, who was diagnosed with melanoma in 2021, finishing his cancer treatment has given him a new lease of life. But the euphoria of being cancer-free is overshadowed by the uncertainty that he may develop a serious illness. Read Matt’s story to see why he is supporting our Immune Tox research campaign.

How the Immune Tox research will work

To study late effects, our doctors need time to see how the effects develop. Usually studies run over 3 years, but for the Immune Tox research, they’re looking to do this over 6 years. This will mean they can better understand the longer-term impact of the ICI treatment on patients.

Our doctors will look at a few different groups of patients to see the long-term impact of ICIs:

  • Group 1 – patients who haven’t had ICIs
  • Group 2 – patients who had ICI treatment 1 to 2 years ago
  • Group 3 – patients who are starting their ICI treatment

When our experts study these patients, they’re looking for a few different things. They’re checking the difference in the rate of cardiac conditions and other medical issues, as well as assessing people’s quality of life, energy levels and fatigue. They’ll then use this information to improve the monitoring, prevention and management of late effects.

The Immune Tox research will help patients and clinicians to understand the risks and benefits of ICIs and ultimately, it will aim to improve long-term quality of life for patients with melanoma. A donation from you today could make this happen, and help give former melanoma patients fuller lives with their loved ones.

Last updated: February 2024