NBCF-funded researchers honoured in 2012

December 7th, 2012

CY-Slaney-Portrait-2012_webThree researchers, supported by the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF), have received recognition for their work during 2012.

Recently, Associate Professor Robert McLaughlin from the University of Western Australia was a finalist in the Centenary Institute Lawrence Creative Prize for his latest NBCF-funded research. Associate Professor McLaughlin is looking into the development of an optical probe that can be used during surgery for breast cancer. The probe fits inside a needle and will help surgeons to accurately determine if all cancerous breast tissue has been removed. This will help to significantly reduce the need for repeat surgeries, which can be very distressing for the patient as well as increasing the chance of complications and reduced quality of life.

Dr Clare Slaney from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne was awarded the prestigious Milstein Young Investigator Award from the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research, presented in Geneva, Switzerland in September. Dr Slaney is an NBCF Postdoctoral Fellow, co-funded by Cure Cancer Australia Foundation, and is researching how breast cancer cells spread away from the primary site in the breast and start to grow in bone (a process called metastasis). In particular, she is exploring how breast cancer cells can manipulate components of the immune system, such as a molecule called Type I interferon, to facilitate the metastatic process. This critical work is helping to reveal the role of the immune system in preventing cancer spread and may lead to new therapies for treating patients with advanced breast cancer.

Professor Phyllis Butow from the University of Sydney was awarded the NSW Premier’s Award for Outstanding Cancer Research. Professor Butow is currently co-funded by NBCF and Cancer Australia through the Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme, and is evaluating an educational intervention for breast cancer survivors to help them better manage the often debilitating psychological side effects of a cancer diagnosis – in particular, the fear that their cancer may reoccur.

NBCF would like to congratulate Associate Professor McLaughlin, Dr Slaney and Professor Butow for their research achievements.

Image: Dr Clare Slaney in the lab at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre