Dedicated clinician honoured with prestigious award

Dedicated clinician honoured with prestigious award
Brendan Rees

A Parkville-based cancer researcher who has dedicated her career to making a difference to women's lives has been recognised with a prestigious award.

Professor Clare Scott, a leading medical oncologist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and the Royal Women’s Hospital, was appointed the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for her “significant service to gynaecological oncology”.

With a career spanning more than 25 years, Prof Scott has remained dogged in her research which is focused on developing targeted therapies for ovarian cancer. 

Her team’s aim is at shifting the treatment paradigm for ovarian cancer from “one-size-fits-all” to a personalised approach.   

“Making a difference to women's lives is always my goal, and I try to do that in multiple ways, through our research programs, through building new infrastructure where that is necessary and through ensuring that the voice of the community is integrally involved in everything I do,” she said.

While humbled to receive the honour, Prof Scott said the award reflected the decades of hard work by her colleagues.

“I was totally shocked when I received a phone call about the award; the feeling is immediately of all my colleagues who have done so much more than I have,” she said.

As the joint head of the Clinical Translation Centre and laboratory head of medical research at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI), Prof Scott’s role focused preventing drug resistance to cancer therapies and improving outcomes for women in gynaecological clinics.

“We focus on certain gynaecological cancer types, such as post-PARPi ovarian cancer, uterine leiomyosarcoma (a rare form of uterine cancer), carcinosarcomas of the ovary or uterus, for which patients we have a new clinical trial starting later this year called EPOCH (eribulin and pembrolizumab) based on our lab work; and people who have multiple primary cancers, to mention a few of our projects,” she said.

“That might sound like a lot, but we use similar systems – access to samples, sequencing, making and studying pre-clinical models including organoids – for all of them.”

Among her roles, Prof Scott also leads the Australian Rare Cancer Portal which is part of Omico (the Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Centre) and supported by BioGrid Australia and Rare Cancers Australia.

This means any Australian with a rare cancer can ask to have their cancer specialist refer them to a virtual portal if more advice or expertise is required to manage their case, including linking them to sequencing, research or high-cost drugs.

Prof Scott said importantly, she was an “absolute advocate of advocates” from expert patients to consumers and “all of the above”.

“I have been privileged to work with many, across the WEHI consumer advisory panel, led by Dr Judith Slocomb, which I instigated more than seven years ago now, and with Rare Cancers Australia and Ovarian Cancers Australia.”


The experienced voice can assist all of us, clinicians, ethicists, funding bodies, government, and industry to see more clearly what is missing, what is needed or what are priorities for those of us who are experiencing the cancers that we struggle to treat every day.


Prof Scott maintains with a collaborative approach “we have a much greater capacity to move the mountains blocking pathways to the delivery of successful treatment and high-quality lives for women with gynaecological cancer.”

In the meantime, Prof Scott said her latest recognition was still “sinking in”, with the award adding to her impressive list of achievements including the Jeanne Ferris Recognition Award (2018, Cancer Australia) and the 100 Women of Influence Award (2013, Fairfax Media and Westpac Group).

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