Main Menu

Help us make our next big discovery

The BRCA2 breast cancer gene is one of our landmark discoveries.

Our scientists are working every day in our laboratories in the heart of London, to make the discoveries that defeat cancer.

Now, the team of 41 scientists behind the BRCA2 gene discovery in 1995, have recently been honoured with two commemorative plaques, at the sites of discovery.

Donate now

Scientists standing in front of blue plaque at the ICRThe plaques celebrating the incredible team involved in making this huge scientific breakthrough, have been installed at our laboratories in Chelsea and Sutton.

The BRCA2 cancer gene

Mutations, or faults, in the BRCA2 gene can cause breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancer. Discovering the gene was a major scientific breakthrough which led to genetic tests for cancer and underpinned the development of new treatments, saving thousands of lives.

Many people think that breakthroughs like this happen as a result of one or two talented individuals’ work – but often it takes a large team of exceptional researchers to collectively reach such a milestone.

These commemorative plaques put a spotlight on our teams’ discoveries, and the impact they are making on cancer treatments and cancer patients’ lives, worldwide.

Caroline's story

Caroline and her daughter Aleisha sitting on a sofaCaroline was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in 2019. Just after finishing her treatment, she found out she had a mutation in her BRCA2 gene. Caroline says:

"I didn't know anything about the BRCA2 mutation before I went through genetic testing. I was devastated to learn I was a carrier, but ultimately knowledge is power – the news does affect the rest of your life, but it also gives you options to manage your risk. 

“It’s very reassuring to know that cancer research is leading to more advances in diagnosis and treatment, and I’m so thankful that by the time my children are grown up, they will hopefully have more options.”

Caroline Wheeldon from Barnsley, pictured with her daughter.


We can’t do this alone

As well as being a world-leading cancer research institute, we are a charity. We rely on the generosity of supporters and donors like you, to sustain our work into the future.

Help us make the next big discovery. Help us make the discoveries that defeat cancer.

Make a donation

Find out more about our major discoveries, including the BRCA2 breast cancer gene.