Mavis brings Clare and Molly together at the Peter MacCallum Centre

08 May 2019

Molly Robertson MDC Ambassador, grand-daughter of MDC late co-Founder Mavis Robertson met up with Dr Clare Slaney at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre last week.

Dr Clare Slaney is the 2018 Mavis Robertson fellowship recipient as well as senior research fellow, and NBCF ECD Fellow.

Molly was thrilled to finally meet Clare Slaney and was inspired after hearing her speak to fellow colleagues on International Women’s Day at the Centre. Molly and Clare talked about how the Mother’s Day Classic has enabled this breakthrough research and how Molly’s grandmother was instrumental in starting up the national fundraising event in 1998, along with co-founder Louise Davidson. Clare then took Molly on a tour of her research facilities.

Dr Slaney is investigating the interaction between the immune system and breast cancer, and the use of immunotherapy (which is the treatment used by Jarrod Roughead and Ron Walker) to treat breast cancer, which although has been successful with other cancers, is yet to make headway in breast cancers, particularly when it has spread to other parts of the body. She aims to boost the body’s immune system with the combination of white blood cells and a vaccine. This includes the use of genetically modified T cells (CAR-T cells) to treat solid cancers and cancer spread. Clare hopes this research will lead toward clinical trials in the very near future but more funding is needed.

One of the reasons Dr Slaney chose to work in this field is because a close family friend passed away with breast cancer just before her graduation and she felt she would like to work towards making a real difference

Dr Slaney’s research project is titled, “Using Lessons from toxic shock syndrome to enhance breast cancer immunotherapy.”

The Mavis Robertson fellowship provides $10,000 to her academic and professional development.

Molly is now working as a cancer research nurse in the Cancer Clinical Trials Unit at Peter MacCallum and is thrilled to be working in the same facility as Dr Slaney.

Molly’s current work involves researching the blood cancer trials using the very same immunotherapy technology that Dr Slaney is investigating for treatment of breast cancer.  Molly and Clare will both be walking with family and friends in the Melbourne event this Sunday.