Director Discusses Cancer Evolution at Prestigious Conference

Professor Mike Stratton will speak at the 2012 AAAS annual meeting about the evolution of the cancer genome

on February 20, 2012 3:44 PM EST

Director discusses cancer evolution at prestigious conference
Professor Mike Stratton will speak at the 2012 AAAS annual meeting about the evolution of the cancer genome (Photo: Flickr.com/EPP Groub)

Professor Mike Stratton, Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, will speak about 'the evolution of the cancer genome' at the prestigious 2012 American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting. The AAAS annual meeting is one of the world's most widely recognized science events.

In 2000, Mike started the Cancer Genome Project at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, which conducts high-throughput, systematic genome-wide searches for genetic mutations in human cancer. The aims of the Cancer Genome Project are to identify new cancer genes, to understand processes of mutagenesis and to reveal the role of genome structure in determining abnormalities of cancer genomes.

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Mike was one of the primary forces in the creation in 2007 of the first international collaboration to coordinate the search for cancer mutations. The International Cancer Genome Consortium is an ambitious project. When it started, only a few human genomes had been sequenced; the consortium set out to sequence many thousand. This collaboration coordinates current and future large-scale projects to understand the genomic changes involved in cancer.

"The American Association for the Advancement of Science is the world's largest general scientific society. To be asked to give a talk on my research at the annual meeting is a great honour," says Mike Stratton.

"In my talk, I will reflect on how the development of next generation sequencing has made whole cancer genome sequencing a reality. With this, we have been able to develop a tool for researchers called COSMIC - a catalogue of genetic mutations, rearrangements and copy number changes that result in cancer.

"Our research provides insights into the evolutionary processes underlying the development of individual human cancers," continues Mike. "This will be the foundation of our understanding of cancer causation, prevention and treatment in the future."

This year's AAAS annual meeting theme is 'Flattening the World: Building the Global Knowledge Society'. This is intended to place the program's focus on the complex challenges of the 21st century and on pathways to global solutions through international, multidisciplinary efforts.

The international conference will comprise of four days of symposia, lectures, seminars, workshops, and poster sessions that cover every area of science, technology, and education.

"It's never been more important for scientists to work together on the big issues confronting the world. This conference brings scientists from across all fields, all over the world, together to discuss global challenges," says Professor Nina V. Fedoroff, President of the AAAS. "We are pleased to have Mike as one of our speakers. The Sanger Institute is at the forefront of genomic research and prides itself on focusing their resources in trying to tackle global problems."

Provided by Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

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