The Foundation is backing Professor Mark Shackleton’s stem cell research aimed at preventing melanoma and treating vitiligo – two diseases affecting the melanin pigment-producing cells, called melanocytes.
Melanoma is an aggressive cancer that kills nearly 1,400 Australians each year.
Vitiligo, a condition where patches of skin stop producing pigment and become pale or white, may not be life-threatening, but it can cause deep distress to the one in every 100 Australians who develop it.
Mark, an oncologist and researcher at the Alfred Hospital and Monash University in Melbourne, and his team believe stem cell science could hold the answers to both conditions and are working to bring treatments to clinical trials within five years.
“In essence, there’s two main diseases which arise from melanocytes: one involves having too many melanocytes, which is melanoma, and the other results from not having enough melanocytes, which is vitiligo,” Mark says.
Mark’s approach centres on adapting drugs, treatments and techniques that have demonstrated safe use for other conditions.
He believes his research could lead to clinical trials for vitiligo treatments and melanoma-prevention within five years.
With your support, the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia is helping fund Mark’s research into new therapies for these conditions.
The Foundation is providing $100,000 for the project, by matching, dollar for dollar, every public donation of $500 or more, capped at $50,000.
Thanks to the generosity of our donors, this target has been met.
If you would still like to make a donation to Mark's research, you can do so using the online payment function in this section and, when prompted, specify ‘skin’ as the specific project you would like your donation allocated to. We will pass the donation on to Mark and his research team.