Melanoma drug trials 'a game-changer' in stopping cancer spread

New international research has been labelled a game-changer in efforts to stop the spread of melanoma.

Early results from the Australian-led trials shows the spread of cancer in some high-risk patients can be cut in half.

Currently more than 50 per cent of patients who have deadly stage 3 melanoma removed will see it return and spread, usually to the lungs, liver, bones or brain. 

The 12-month trials - one using combined drugs, the other intravenous immune therapy - have been a huge success.

"We can now effectively stop it in its tracks, prevent it from spreading to distant sites," said Professor Richard Scolyer of the Melanoma Institute Australia.

Renae Aslanis has been given a second chance. Diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma in the hip and groin four years ago, she took part in the international clinical trial led by researchers at the Melanoma Institute Australia. 

"No evidence of disease, no recurrence since, and slowly but surely getting back into the swing of things," she said.

"I'm extremely grateful."

Professor Georgina Long of the institute said: "This is an absolute game changer for the treatment for high-risk, early-stage melanoma." 

The Cancer Society of New Zealand is cautiously welcoming these early first trial results. 

And it says with 360 people dying of melanoma here each year, these drugs have the potential to help save 70 lives. 

The cancer society is renewing calls for improvements to Pharmac's funding processes. 

And with summer fast approaching, there are reminders on both sides of the Tasman to be safe in the sun.

Early results from the Australian-led trials shows the spread of cancer in some high-risk patients can be cut in half. Source: 1 NEWS

Thousands of Kiwi expats in Australia get no say in same-sex marriage survey

Thousands of New Zealanders living in Australia won't get a say in that country's postal survey on whether they support or oppose same-sex couples marrying.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics' survey of 16 million voters began yesterday, but it's restricted to Australian citizens only.

Along with many Kiwis, marriage equality adviser and campaigner Liam Ryan can't vote in the survey.

"For my personal motivation, I have Australian children, so their lives are going to be affected by this," he told 1 NEWS. 

The $135 million 'Yes' or 'No' question has already caused major divisions, with both sides accusing each other of intolerance.

"I've been doing this a number of years, and while there's always debate, this is the first time that we've really seen what I would describe as homophobia, blatantly," said Mr Ryan said.

Former New Zealander, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, has already had enough of campaigners. 

"Get out of my face. Leave me alone. I'll make the decision up myself," he said.

A poll out yesterday is the latest to show majority support for the 'Yes' campaign, with 65 per cent of respondents saying they'll definitely take part in the survey and of those seven out of 10 saying they support same-sex marriage.

Ballots are due back in November.

Postal ballots were sent out this morning in the highly controversial vote. Source: 1 NEWS


'There's currently two people still in this lake' - witness describes seeing car driven into Christchurch lake as man tries to rescue driver

Two people are unaccounted for after a car was discovered submerged in an suburban lake in Christchurch.

Emergency services received the call at 5.45pm that a car was in a lake at Westlake Reserve in the suburb of Halswell.

A witness at the scene says there was a woman in the driver's seat of a car parked on the bank of the Westlake Reserve lake with a man on the outside of the driver's seat trying to get in.

"What it looked like was the man was trying to open the door or communicate to the lady," the witness said.

"I heard the accelerator go and that's when the car went down, off the bank, down the hill into the lake.

The man then reportedly followed the car, swimming into the lake, where it then sank.

"He swam down and came back up a couple of times, and it would have been about the fourth time, he went down and didn't come back up.

"So there's currently two people still in this lake."    

Police were seen on the edge of the lake with ropes, and some officers ventured into the water. 

The Police National Dive Team will arrive in Christchurch tomorrow morning to assit in the search for the two people missing.

Witnesses say a man tried to get a woman from the vehicle but both failed to surface. Source: 1 NEWS