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Melanoma treatment pioneers awarded 2024 Australian of the Year

This article is sponsored by the University of Sydney. Authorised by Vice-Chancellor and President Prof. Mark Scott. Enquiries: 9351 2000;


University of Sydney Professors Georgina Long AO and Richard Scolyer AO, co-medical directors of the Melanoma Institute Australia, have jointly won the prestigious Australian of the Year award for their pioneering work in the treatment of melanoma.

The pair have been recognised for their revolutionary approach to treating melanomas with the prominent honour announced by the Governor-General on January 25.

“We never imagined our life work would lead us here,” they said in a joint statement. “We stand here tonight proudly representing every melanoma patient and their families, all those impacted by brain cancer, and indeed, all cancers.

“We are immensely proud of the work we do at Melanoma Institute Australia and our laboratory at the University of Sydney.”

Professor Long and Professor Scolyer’s enduring partnership has saved thousands of lives.

Less than a decade ago, advanced melanoma was fatal – but thanks to their immunotherapy approach, which activates a patient’s own immune system, it has become a curable disease.

They are also sought-after media commentators and prominent advocates for sun-safe behaviour and melanoma prevention.

In June 2023, when Professor Scolyer was diagnosed with incurable grade 4 brain cancer, he and Professor Long developed a series of world-first treatments based on their melanoma breakthroughs.

Professor Scolyer became the world’s first brain cancer patient to have pre-surgery combination immunotherapy. By undertaking an experimental treatment with risk of shortening his life, he has advanced the understanding of brain cancer and is benefiting future patients.

This award is extremely well deserved and I offer my heartfelt congratulations to Professor Long and Professor Scolyer for their remarkable achievements.

Their life-changing research, unwavering commitment and leadership in revolutionising melanoma treatment have not only earned them this honour but have also saved thousands. Their work is a genuine inspiration to us all.

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