Dr Clare Slaney
“I believe what I’ve accomplished so far and aim to do in the next few years will have a significant impact on the burden of the disease”.
Immunotherapy to target tumours
Clare is a researcher at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne. Her work is focused on immunotherapy, which is a treatment that stimulates the immune system to fight disease.
Clare and her colleagues have recently developed a potential new immunotherapy treatment.
Now, with her Cure Cancer Australia grant, the team aim to understand how the ‘microenvironments’ – or surrounding tissue – of tumours in different parts of the body can affect how the immunotherapy treatment works.
“Tumours have different microenvironments that can suppress immune responses and reduce the effectiveness of therapy,” she says. “Manipulating these environments will enable better results for patients being treated.”
If her efforts are successful, clinicians could eventually be able to predict how individual tumours in different people would respond to treatments, and design tailor-made therapies to get the best results.
In such personalised medicine, doctors may be able to target treatments to individual tumours where they are located in the body.
In the laboratory, her team have already been able to eradicate large, established cancers in mice. They also found that once the mice had rejected their tumours they were resistant to the same cancer.
Believing patience, persistence and effort are key to research success, Clare is optimistic about where her hard work could lead.
“I believe what I’ve accomplished so far and aim to do in the next few years will have a significant impact on the burden of the disease,” she says.
Long-term, Clare’s goal is to become a breast cancer immunologist in Australia. She is delighted with her Cure Cancer Australia grant and says funding support not only sustains her work but also will “greatly help her achieve this goal”.
In her spare time, Clare and her husband enjoy travelling, swimming and fishing.