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Australian Skin Cancer Genetic Study Seeks to Recruit 20K Additional Participants

NEW YOK – Scientists at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute said today that they are seeking to recruit more than 20,000 Australians for a skin cancer genetics study that will involve at least 38,000 participants in total.

The new project will be the second stage of the QSkin study, which has documented the disease in 44,000 Australians and developed a melanoma risk predictor. Genetic material from more than 18,000 of the original participants has already been analyzed.

"Our aim is to collect genetic information for at least 38,000 people because genetic studies need very large numbers of participants to have enough statistical power to find the important genes," said David Whiteman, a senior scientist at QIMR Berghofer, which is based in Queensland.

For the second stage, the researchers plan to enroll adults with and without skin cancer, and with a range of skin tones. The study will use DNA from saliva samples, which will be stored in a biobank.

The research is funded with an undisclosed amount from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.

Australian has the highest rate of skin cancer globally, with more than 400,000 cases per year, including melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma.