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Centre for Evolution and Cancer

The Centre for Evolution and Cancer at The Institute of Cancer Research will apply Charles Darwin’s principle of natural selection within ecosystems to our understanding of why we develop cancer and why it is so difficult to treat.

Video: Professor Mel Greaves launches the Centre for Evolution and Cancer

Researchers at the centre seek to answer three big questions in cancer medicine: why are humans so vulnerable to cancer; what determines the unpredictable development of cancers in the body over time; and why is drug resistance so frequent?

Computational biologists, geneticists, cell biologists and clinical scientists will work together to explore exciting new avenues of cancer-related evolutionary research. Researchers will identify the genetic diversity within individual tumours, and explore the use of genetic profiling of tumours as fingerprints that could predict progression of disease, metastases or drug resistance.

The genetic diversity of cancer stem cells will also be investigated at the centre, with the goal that they may one day be the target for cancer treatment, and provide information on what type of targeted treatment is likely to work.

The centre will offer a radically different way of thinking about cancer, opening up new opportunities for exploring the fundamentals of cancer, and new avenues for treatment and prevention.

Dr Andrea Sottoriva, Leader of the Evolutionary Genomics and Modelling Team, is currently the Chris Rokos Fellow in Evolution and Cancer at the ICR.

Read more about the centre [PDF]

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