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Studio portrait of Georgina Long and Richard Scolyer

Melanoma treatment pioneers
New South Wales | 2024 Australian of the Year

Georgina Long and Richard Scolyer’s research into the treatment of melanoma, Australia’s ‘national cancer’, has saved thousands of lives. Less than a decade ago, advanced melanoma was fatal. Thanks to Georgina and Richard’s immunotherapy treatment, which activates a patient’s immune system, it has become a curable disease.

Since Richard was diagnosed with brain cancer in June 2023, they have turned their focus to his condition. Experimenting further with immunotherapy, they hope to advance the understanding of brain cancer and benefit future patients.

Australia has the highest rate of melanoma anywhere in the world. Together, we saw the challenge of melanoma as a tremendous opportunity to make a difference to many. We take a multidisciplinary approach, all working together towards our goal of zero deaths from melanoma.

We have applied the learnings from our pioneering melanoma research into glioblastoma (brain cancer). We have generated, in 10 weeks, discoveries which would normally take many years.

Triathlon medal and suit

Georgina and Richard have been friends and colleagues for a decade. Richard introduced Georgina to triathlons and they have travelled the world together, participating in championships and representing Melanoma Institute Australia.

Georgina received this medal at the 2019 ITU World Triathlon Series in Switzerland. Richard wore this suit in the 2023 World Triathlon Multisport Championship in Spain, a month before he had a seizure and was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer. When Georgina heard the news, she immediately outlined a world-first treatment plan, providing hope at a time of immense grief.

Photo of a triathlon medal and suit

Triathlon medal and suit from Georgina Long AO and Richard Scolyer AO

This exhibition was developed by the National Museum of Australia in collaboration with the National Australia Day Council. Portrait images supplied by the National Australia Day Council.

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