Scientists in Australia believe they've found an effective treatment for the most deadly skin cancer. A young father once given just weeks to live is now virtually cancer free, thanks to a clinical trial .
Leigh Miller started feeling sick in November last year.
"I was getting like dizzy spells, headaches," he remembers.
Doctors initially thought the young dad might have diabetes, but further tests revealed he had stage four melanoma. It had started in his groin and spread everywhere.
Chief Investigator Professor Georgina Long says, "We discovered that he had at least 13 melanoma deposits in the brain."
With a prognosis as dire as Leigh's, clinical trials aren't usually an option. So, researchers from the Melanoma Institute developed their own treatment, combining two immunotherapy drugs.
"The two drugs together Ipilimumab and Nivolumab reduced the melanoma and made it completely disappear in up to 50% of patients, which is phenomenal." Long says.
Leigh's family can't believe it either. His father Gary says, the improvements are incredible.
The drug combo has been approved by the Australian equivalent of the U.S. F.D.A., but it hasn't been added to the country's prescription drug program, yet.
Lee says, "If it wasn't for her and her team, I and many other people wouldn't have a hope. We owe our lives to her."
Clinical trials are also underway in the U.S. on the use of this treatment for melanoma.
Australia and New Zealand have the highest incidence and death rates of melanoma in the world. It's one in 24 for males and one in 34 for females.