Dissecting the Tumour Specificity of Cancer Drivers


The Challenge: Devise approaches to prevent or treat cancer based on mechanisms that determine tissue specificity of some cancer genes.



Cancer is caused by mutations in the DNA of our cells. These mutations can come about by chance, or can be caused by environmental factors, and result in cells multiplying out of control. We know that different DNA mutations can cause different types of cancer. For example, mistakes in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are known to have a role in breast and ovarian cancer development. However, despite decades of research, we don’t yet understand why these errors only cause cancer in specific organs, and not in other parts of the body. The faulty genes can be found in nearly all our cells – so why is the cancer found in specific places?

The Team

Multi-National Collaborators

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Hans Clevers


Professor of Molecular Genetics;
The Netherlands, Hubrecht Institute

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Stephen Elledge


Grand Challenge Shortlisted Team
Principal Investigator, Gregor Mendel Professor of
Genetics and of Medicine; USA, Harvard Medical School 
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Karen Cichowski


Professor of Medicine and Genetics; USA, Harvard Medical School

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Peter Park


Professor of Biomedical Informatics; USA, Harvard Medical School

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Trey Westbrook


Professor of Molecular and Human Genetics; USA, Baylor College of Medicine  >>more info

Owen Sansom


Director and Senior Group Leader at the CRUK Beatson Institute; UK, Deputy Director of the Institute of Cancer Sciences at the University of Glasgow and CRUK Glasgow Cancer Centre Lead, CRUK Beatson Institute and University of Glasgow

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Kevin Haigis


Director, Cancer Genetics; USA

Beth Israel Deaconess
Medical Center, Cancer Genetics 
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Kristian Helin


Director and Professor, Biotech Research and Innovation Centre (BRIC) and Novo Nordisk Foundation for Stem Cell Biology (DanStem), Denmark, University of Copenhagen  >>more info

Teresa Davoli


Assistant Professor in the Institute for Systems Genetics and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at New York University School of Medicine, USA  >>more info

Richard Marais


Director, CRUK Manchester Institute, Manchester, UK

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