IT is only a matter of years before we start calling cancers by their genetic make-up, rather than the body part they affect.
That's what Hunter Medical Research Institute's Dr Nikola Bowden told an audience at last week's inaugural open day last Thursday.
The institute hosted a range of activities across the day for both children and adults, including interactive stalls, an informal cocktail party and a Q & A session.
Geneticist Dr Bowden was one of seven panellists in the Q & A session, which also included psychologist Amanda Baker and musician Mark Wells, whose cystic fibrosis s being treated through a medical trial at the institute.
Dr Bowden received a second two-year grant in February through Cure Cancer Foundation Australia, to further explore the DNA repair factor, focusing on developing tests to determine melanoma aggression and progression levels.
She said research in melanoma had taken off over the past 10 years, and researchers were well on their way to personalising cancer treatments, which would include melanomas.
Mr Wells said his involvement in a Hunter Medical Research Institute trial had changed his life.
Since starting the trial, he has reduced the amount of lung bleeds and recurring infections.
"Being first in line for new treatments has been a game changer for me," he said.