New trial for skin cancer treatments

December 3, 2021 BY

Clinical: Nine Bendigo skin cancer patients are partaking in a trial to see whether a drug used to treat prostate and breast cancer can improve melanoma treatments. Photo: AP

BENDIGO melanoma patients are trialling a drug commonly used in prostate and breast cancer treatments to determine its effectiveness against skin cancer.

The CHARLI trial will see nine patients from the Bendigo cancer centre, diagnosed with metastatic melanoma, have the drug denosumab added to their standard immunotherapies.

“We hope the addition of denosumab to current melanoma immunotherapies will make these treatments more effective without adding to the side effects,” chief investigator of the trial, associate professor Shahneed Sandhu said.

“If denosumab proves to be beneficial, the CHARLI trial may also provide data to support its addition to drugs for other tumour types.”

Medical oncologist at the centre Dr Sam Harris said the trial is designed to provide more equitable access to care and breakthroughs in medicine to regional hospitals.

“Regional patients have traditionally been under-represented in cancer clinical trials,” he said.

“As such, participation in the CHARLI trial has been fantastic for us to be able to offer our patients participation in a clinical trial whilst still getting treatment close to home.

“Our patients have been keen to participate to help improve treatment outcomes for melanoma patients in the future.”

Fifty patients have been enrolled so far across Australia, with a goal of 72 participants across 10 sites by the end of the year.

Bendigo participants will receive their treatment and undergo blood tests and scans at Bendigo Hospital.

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